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WIMBORN 
CHRISTCHURCH 


BY  THE  REV.  THOMAS  Pr 


wirH  PI  \ 


11 


ERSSTY  OF  CALIFORNIA 
LOS  ANGELES 


^5^IMBORNE    MINSTER 

AND 

CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 


WIMBORNE    MINSTER 


AND 


CHRISTCHURCH    PRIORY 

A    SHORT    HISTORY    OF   THEIR 
FOUNDATION    AND    DESCRIP- 
TION OF  THEIR  BUILDINGS 


BY    THE 


REV.  THOMAS   PERKLNS 

M.A.,   F.R.A.S. 

RECTOR   OF    TURNWORTH,    DORSET 


WITH    ILLUSTRATIONS    PROM 

PHOTOGRAPHS    BY    THE 

AUTHOR 


»         3    i     3 

>       3     5    ' 


'  >      '       i 


LONDON   GEORGE  BELL  &  SONS    1899 


«  »  •        • 


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•  •••  • ' ;  •  •    • 


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AUTHOR'S  PREFACE 

When  writing  the  chapters  of  the  present  volume  which  treat 
of  Wimborne  Minster,  the  author  consulted  the  last  edition  of 
Hutchins'  "History  of  Dorset,"  which  contains  a  considerable 
amount  of  somewhat  ill-arranged  information  on  the  subject, 
verifying  all  the  descriptions  by  actual  examination  of  the 
building ;  similarly,  when  preparing  the  part  of  this  volume 
dealing  with  Christchurch  Priory,  he  made  some  use  of  "  The 
Memorials  of  Christchurch  Twynham,"  written  originally  by 
the  Rev.  Mackenzie  Walcott,  F.S.A.,  and  revised  after  his 
death  in  1880  by  Mr  B.  Edmund  Ferrey,  F.S.A.  He  also 
consulted  papers  on  the  subject  that  have  appeared  from  time 
to  time  in  various  periodicals  and  MSS.  that  were  kindly 
placed  at  his  disposal  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Society  for  the 
Protection  of  Ancient  Buildings. 

He  desires  to  express  his  thanks  to  the  Vicars  of  the  two 
churches  for  permission  to  thoroughly  examine  every  part  of 
the  buildings,  and  to  photograph  them  without  let  or  hind- 
rance ;  he  also  wishes  to  bear  testimony  to  the  readiness  shown 
by  the  clerks  and  vergers  in  imparting  local  information  and  in 
facilitating  his  photographic  work. 

T.  P. 

October  1899. 


487708 


CONTENTS 


WIMBORNE   MINSTER 


Chapter  I.— History  of  the  Building    .... 

Date  of  Foundation  ...... 

The  Norman  Church        ...... 

Alterations  in  the  Thirteenth  and  Fourteenth  Centuries 
Alterations  in  the  Fifteenth  and  Sixteenth  Centuries 
Modern  Restorations       ...... 


Chapter  II. — The  Exterior 
The  Central  Tower 
The  North  Porch     . 
The  East  Window  . 
The  Sundial    . 
The  South  Porch     , 
The  Western  Tower 


Chapter  III.— The  Interior 
The  North  Porch     . 
The  Aisles 
The  Clerestory 
The  Central  Tower 
The  Transepts 

The  East  End,  Choir  and  Presbytery 
Sedilia  and  Piscina .... 
The  Beaufort  and  Courtenay  Tombs  and  Brass  of  Aetheir 
The  South  Choir  Aisle  and  Etricke  Tomb 
The  North  Choir  Aisle  and  Uvedale  Monument 
The  Crypt,  Vestry,  and  Library 
Deans  of  Wimborne 

Chapter  IV.— St  Margaret's  Hospital 
Dimensions  of  Wimborne  Minster    , 


PAGE 

3 

5 
8,9 

10,  II 

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48 

50.  51 
52 
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60 
63 


CHRISTCHURCH  PRIORY 


Chapter  I.— History  of  the  Building    . 

Foundation      ....... 

The  Norman  Church        ..... 

Alterations  in  the  Thirteenth — Fifteenth  Centuries 
Modern  Alterations  ..... 


67 
68 
70 

71 
72 


VI 


CONTENTS 


Chapter  II. — The  Exterior 
The  Western  Tower 
The  North  Porch     . 
The  North  Aisle      . 
The  North  Transept 

The  Choir,  Presbytery,  and  Lady  Chapel 
The  South  Transept  .... 

The  Nave        ...... 

The  Porter's  Lodge,  and  Sites  of  the  Domestic  Buildings 

Chapter  III. — The  Interior 
The  Nave 
The  Aisles 
The  Transepts 
The  Rood  Screen     . 
The  Choir 
The  Choir  Stalls 
The  Reredos  . 
The  Salisbury  Chantry     . 
The  Draper  Chantry 

The  Lady  Chapel,  and  the  "  Miraculous  Beam 
St  Michael's  Loft     . 
The  Shelley  Monument  . 

Chapter  IV. — Deans,  Priors,  and  Vicars  of  Christchurch 
Stratford's  Injunctions     . 
Archbishop  Arundel's  Injunctions 
The  Norman  Castle 
The  Norman  House 
Dimensions  of  Christchurch  Priory 


PAGE 
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LIST   OF    ILLUSTRATIONS 


WIMBORNE   MINSTER 


Arms  of  Wimborne  and  Christchurch 

Wimborne  Minster  from  the  North-East 

Wimborne  Minster  in  1S40     .... 

Wimborne  Minster  in  1707.     (From  a  copperplate 

The  Minster  from  the  South-East  before  1891 

The  North  Transept  before  1891     . 

The  East  Window 

The  Western  Tower 

The  Interior,  looking  East 

Pier  and  Arch-Spring,  South  Arcade 

Decorated  Arch  in  the  Nave  . 

Clerestory  Stage  of  the  Central  Tower 

The  Tower  Arches 

North  Transept  and  Crossing 

Thirteenth-Century  Piscina,  South  Transept 

Choir  Stalls    . 

West  View  from  the  Choir 

The  East  Window . 

Sedilia  .... 

The  Beaufort  Tomb 

Brass  of  Aethelred 

The  Etricke  Tomb 

Relic  Chest    . 

The  Uvedale  Monument 

Entrance  to  Crypt . 

The  Library  . 

The  Crypt 

The  Font 

The  Clock  in  the  West  Tower 

St  Margaret's  Hospital   . 


in  th 


Litjrary 


PAGE 

Title  page 
2 

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CHRISTCHURCH    PRIORY 


Christchurch  Priory  from  the  Bridge 
Christchurch  Priory  from  the  North-East 
Tower  Door  ...... 

The  North  Porch 


66 
77 
78 
79 


Vll 


VUl 


LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS 


The  North  Door     . 

The  North  Transept  in  iSio 

The  North  Transept 

South  Aisle  of  Nave 

The  Nave  in  1834  . 

The  Nave 

North  Arcade  of  the  Nave 

From  the  North  Triforium 

Bay  of  the  Triforium,  South  Side 

South  Aisle  of  the  Nave 

The  Montacute  Chantry 

North  Aisle  of  the  Nave 

The  Crypt 

The  Rood  Screen  . 

Stall  Seats  (3) 

Choir  Stalls    . 

]Miserere  on  Stall  Seat  (circa  1300^ 

The  Choir 

The  Reredos 

The  Salisbury  Chantry    . 

Interior  of  the  Salisbury  Chantry 

The  Draper  Chantry 

Piscina  in  the  Draper  Chantry 

The  Sacristy  . 

The  Miraculous  Beam 

Tomb  of  Thomas,  Lord  West 

The  Lady  Chapel 

St  Michael's  Loft   . 

Remains  of  the  Norman  House 

Plans  


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136,  137 


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a 

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oi 
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z 

a 


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en 


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iipllhiii'-i'iiiiiiifriiri-iiiiifi^ 

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By  Rci'.J.  L.  Pciit.\  Wimborne  Minster  in  1840. 


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WIMBORNE   MINSTER 


CHAPTER    I 

HISTORY    OF    THE    BUILDING 

Of  the  churches  connected  with  the  religious  houses  which 
once  existed  in  the  county  of  Dorset,  three  only  remain  to  the 
present  day.  Of  some  of  the  rest  we  have  ruins,  others  have 
entirely  disappeared.  But  the  town  of  Sherborne,  once  the 
bishop-stool  of  the  sainted  Aldhelm,  who  overlooked  a  vast 
diocese  comprising  a  great  portion  of  the  West  Saxon  kingdom, 
has  its  Abbey  now  used  as  its  Parish  Church.  The  great 
Abbey  of  Milton,  founded  by  .-Ethelstan,  has  handed  down  to  us 
its  choir  and  transepts — rebuilt  in  the  fourteenth  century,  after 
the  former  church  had  been  destroyed  by  fire — and  this,  though 
private  property,  is  still  used  for  occasional  services ;  and  the 
minster  church  at  Wimborne  has  became  the  church  of  the 
parish  of  Wimborne  Minster. 

The  town  has  been  by  many  supposed  to  stand  on  the  site 
of  the  Roman  Vindogladia,  though  this  station  has  by  others 
been  identified  with  Gussage  Cowdown,  or  the  circular  encamp- 
ment of  Badbury  Rings,  about  three  miles  to  the  north-west 
of  Wimborne  Minster.  Be  this  as  it  may,  the  district  was 
3 


4  WIMBORNE    MINSTER 

occupied  by  the  Roman  conquerors  of  our  island ;  and 
Roman  pottery  and  other  remains  have  been  found  in  the 
neighbourhood,  including  a  small  portion  of  pavement  beneath 
the  floor  of  the  minster  church. 

The  derivation  of  the  name  Wimborne,  or  Winborne  as  we 
find  it  sometimes  written,  has  been  much  disputed;  but  as 
we  find  the  same  word  appearing  as  the  name  of  several  other 
places  which  lie  on  the  course  of  the  same  stream,  now 
generally  called  the  Allen,  though  sometimes  the  Wim,  it  is 
highly  probable  that  the  name  is  derived  from  that  of  the 
river.  Compound  names  for  villages  are  very  common  in 
Dorset — the  first  word  being  the  name  of  the  river  on  which 
the  village  stands,  the  second  being  added  to  distinguish  one 
village  from  another.  Thus  we  find  along  the  Tarrant, 
villages  known  as  Tarrant  Ciunville,  Tarrant  Hinton,  Tarrant 
I-aunceston,  Tarrant  Monkton,  etc.;  and  along  the  Winterborne 
we  find  Winterborne  Houghton,  Winterborne  Stickland, 
Winterborne  Clenstone,  etc.  ;  and  in  like  manner  we  meet 
with  Monkton  up  Wimborne,  Wimborne  Saint  Giles,  and 
Wimborne  Minster  along  the  course  of  the  Allen.  The 
characteristic  name  of  Winterborne  for  a  brook  that  is  such  in 
winter  only,  but  is  a  dried-up  bed  in  a  hot  summer  is  borne 
by  two  streams  in  Dorset,  each  giving  its  name  to  a  string  of 
villages.  May  not  the  word  Wimborne  or  Winborne  be  a 
contraction  for  this  same  word  Winterborne,  the  "  burn  "  of 
the  rainy  winter  months,  applied  to  the  little  stream  of  the 
Allen  ? 

The  small  town  of  Wimborne  Minster  stands  not  far  from 
the  junction  of  the  Allen  with  the  slow-running  Dorset  Stour, 
in  the  midst  of  pleasant  fertile  meadow-land,  from  which 
here  and  there  some  low  hills  rise.  Its  chief  glory  has  been, 
and  probably  always  will  be,  its  splendid  church,  with  its  central 
Norman  and  its  Western  Perpendicular  towers,  its  Norman 
and  Decorated  nave,  its  Early  English  choir,  and  its  numerous 
tombs  and  monuments  of  those  whose  names  are  recorded  in 
the  history  of  the  country. 

The  exact  year  of  the  foundation  of  the  original  religious 
house  is  differently  given  in  various  ancient  documents  :  the 
dates  vary  from  705  a.d.  to  723  a.d.  At  this  time,  Ine  was 
king  of  the  West  Saxons  ;  and  one  of  his  sisters,  Cudburh — or 
Cuthberga,  as  her  name  appears  in  its   Latinised  form — was 


HISTORY   OF   THE    BUILDING  5 

espoused  or  married  to  Egfred,  or,  as  he  is  often  called,  Osric, 
the  Northumbrian  king,  but  the  marriage  was  never  con- 
summated, and  the  lady  as  soon  as  possible  separated  from 
him  and  retired  to  the  convent  at  iJarking,  and  afterwards 
founded  the  convent  at  Wimborne.  Some  say  that  she 
objected  to  the  intemperate  habits  of  her  espoused  as  soon  as 
she  met  him ;  others,  that  having  previously  vowed  herself  to 
heaven,  she  persuaded  him  to  release  her  from  the  engagement 
to  him,  which  had  been  arranged  without  her  wishes  being 
consulted.  Her  sister  Ouinberga  is  stated  to  have  been 
associated  with  her  in  the  foundation  of  the  religious  house, 
and  both  were  buried  within  its  precincts,  and  both  were 
afterwards  canonised  ;  Saint  Cuthberga  was  commemerated  on 
August  31st  "as  a  virgin  but  not  a  martyr."  A  special  service 
appointed  for  the  day  is  to  be  found  in  a  Missal  kept  in  the 
Library  of  the  Cathedral  Church  at  Salisbury,  in  which  the 
following  prayer  occurs  : — ■ 

"  Deus  qui  eximie  castitatis  privilegio  famulam  tuam 
Cuthbergam  multipliciter  decorasti,  da  nobis  famulis  tuis 
ejus  promerente  intercessione  utriusque  vitae  prosperitatem. 
Ut  sicut  ejus  festivitas  nobiscum  agitur  in  terris,  ita  per  ejus 
interventum  nostri  memoria  apud  te  semper  habeatur  in  coelis, 
per  Dominum  etc." 

There  is  reason  to  believe  that  the  earliest  date  given  above 
for  the  foundation  (705  a.d.)  is  the  most  probable  one,  as 
Regner  in  his  tracts  mentions  a  letter  bearing  this  date  written 
by  Saint  Aid  helm,  and  taken  from  the  register  of  Malmesbury, 
in  which  he  includes  in  a  list  of  congregations  to  which  he 
grants  liberty  of  election  the  monastery  at  Wimborne,  presided 
over  by  the  sister  of  the  king.  There  is  also  some  evidence  for 
the  existence  of  a  community  of  monks  at  Wimborne,  as  well 
as  of  nuns.  But  of  these  original  religious  houses  not  a  trace 
remains  :  the  very  position  of  St  Cuthberga's  Church  is  un- 
certain ;  we  cannot  be  sure  that  the  present  building  occupies 
the  same  site ;  the  last  resting-places  of  the  two  royal 
foundresses  are  not  even  pointed  out  by  tradition.  Probably 
the  buildings  were  destroyed,  the  nuns  slain  or  driven  out, 
when  the  raiding  Danes  overran  Wessex  in  the  ninth  century. 

The  next  historical  event  that  we  meet  with  in  connection 
with  Wimborne  is  the  burial  of  King  .Mthelred,  the  brother 
and  immediate  predecessor  on  the  throne  of  the  great  West 


6  WIMBORNE    MINSTER 

Saxon  king  Alfred.  As  there  is  doubt  about  the  year  of 
the  foundation  by  Cuthberga,  so  again  there  is  a  conflict  of 
testimony  as  to  the  date,  place,  and  manner  of  the  death  of 
yEthelred — the  inscription  on  the  brass  (about  which  more 
will  be  said  when  we  come  to  describe  the  interior  of  the 
minster)  not  agreeing  with  the  usually  accepted  date  for  the 
accession  of  Alfred,  871  ;  but  as  the  brass  is  itself  many 
centuries  later  than  the  burial  of  the  king  whose  likeness 
it  professes  to  bear,  its  authority  may  well  be  questioned. 
Anyhow,  yEthelred  died  either  of  wounds  received  in  some 
battle  with  the  Danes,  in  some  spot  which  different  archcC- 
ologists  have  placed  in  Surrey,  Oxford,  Berkshire,  or  Wilts,  or 
worn  out  by  his  long  and  arduous  exertions  while  struggling 
with  the  heathen  invaders ;  and  his  body — this  alone  is 
certain — was  brought  to  Wimborne  for  burial.  It  has  been 
conjectured  that  /Elfred,  after  he  had  defeated  the  Danes  and 
established  himself  firmly  on  the  throne  of  Wessex,  would 
naturally  rebuild  the  ruined  abbey.  He  founded,  as  we  know, 
an  abbey  at  Shaftesbury ;  he  is  recorded  to  have  built  at 
Winchester  and  London ;  he  had  undoubtedly  a  taste  for 
architecture,  and  he  was  a  devout  son  of  Mother  Church,  so 
that  it  is  by  no  means  improbable  that  he  would  erect  a 
church  over  the  grave  of  his  brother :  but  no  record  of  such 
building  remains,  and  there  is  no  trace  of  any  pre-Norman 
work  in  the  existing  minster. 

The  original  church  and  conventual  buildings  having  been 
swept  away  by  the  Danes,  whether  /Elfred  restored  it  or  not  is 
uncertain,  but  it  is  certain  that  a  house  of  secular  canons  was 
established  at  Wimborne  by  a  king  of  the  name  of  Eadward ; 
but  again  there  is  some  uncertainty  as  to  whether  this  king 
was  the  one  who  is  sometimes  called  the  Eadward  the  Elder, 
sometimes  Eadward  the  Unconquered,  son  and  successor  of 
Alfred,  or  Eadward  the  Confessor.  Anyhow,  it  became  a 
collegiate  church  and  a  royal  free  chapel,  and  as  such  it  is 
mentioned  in  Domesday  Book,  and  it  is  noticed  as  a  Deanery 
in  the  charters  of  Henry  HI.  Leland,  writing  in  the  reign  of 
Henry  VIII.,  says,  "It  is  but  of  late  time  that  a  dean  and 
prebendaries  were  inducted  into  it."  The  deanery  was  in  the 
gift  of  the  Crown,  and  we  have  a  full  list  of  the  deans  from 
1224  up  to  1547,  when  it  was  dissolved.  The  ecclesiastical 
establishment   consisted   of  a  dean,   four  prebendaries,  three 


HISTORY   OF   THE    BUILDING  7 

vicars,  four  deacons,  and  five  singing  men.  It  will  not  be 
needful  to  give  any  detailed  account  of  these,  as  most  of 
them,  though  in  many  cases  they  held  other  more  dignified 
posts,*  either  together  with  the  deanery  or  after  resigning  it, 
are  not  men  who  have  made  their  mark  in  English  history. 
A  few  only  will  here  be  mentioned,  who  on  account  of  some 
circumstances  connected  with  the  fabric,  or  for  other  reasons, 
are  more  noteworthy. 

Thomas  de  Bembre,  1350-1361,  founded  a  chantry  and 
an  altar  in  the  north  part  of  the  north  transept,  which  was 
added  at  this  time. 

Reginald  Pole,  so  well  known  in  the  history  of  the  reigns 
of  Henry  VIII.  and  Queen  Mary,  was  Dean  of  Wimborne 
from  15 1 7  till  1537.  It  is  remarkable  that  he  was  only 
seventeen  years  of  age  at  the  time  of  his  appointment. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Nicholas  Wilson,  who  held  the  ofiice 
of  dean  until  the  dissolution  of  the  deanery  in  1547.  To  him 
a  curious  letter  still  existing  was  addressed  in  1538  by  certain 
leading  men  of  the  parish,  though  nothing  appears  to  have 
been  done  in  consequence  of  it.  These  worthy  men  complain 
of  the  dilapidated  state  of  the  church,  the  want  of  funds  to 
carry  out  needed  repairs,  and  suggest  the  taking  from  the 
church  "seynt  Cuthborow's  bed,"  and  "the  sylv' y' ys  about 
the  same  bed,"  which  they  claim  as  belonging  to  the  parish 
on  the  ground  that  it  was  made  by  the  charity  of  the  parish- 
ioners in  times  past.  "Our  chyrche,"  they  say,  "ys  in  gret 
ruyn  and  decay  and  our  toure  ys  foundered  and  lyke  to  fall 
and  ther  ys  no  money  left  in  o  chyrche  box  and  by  reason  of 
great  infyrmyty  and  deth  ther  hath  byn  thys  yere  in  oure 
parysh  no  chyrche  aele,  the  whych  hath  hyndred  o  chyrch 
of  xx"  nobles  and  above,  and  well  it  is  knowen  y'  we  have  no 
land  but  onely  the  charity  of  good  people,  wherfor  nyed 
constraynyth  us  to  sell  the  sylv'  y'  is  about  the  same  bed. 
Besechynge  yo""  mastership  to  sertefy  us  by  y''  tre  wher  we  may 
sell  the  said  sylv'  to  repayr  o  chyrche."! 

*  It  is  noteworthy  that  they  all  held  some  other  preferment  durint;  the 
time  that  they  held  the  office  of  dean. 

t  In  an  inventory  made  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII.  we  find  mentioned 
an  image  of  St  Cuthberga,  with  a  ring  of  gold,  and  two  little  crosses  of 
gold,  with  a  book  and  staff  in  her  hand.  The  head  of  the  image  of  silver 
with  a  crown  on  it  of  silver  and  gilt.  On  her  apron  a  St  James  shell  with 
a  buckle  of  silver  and  gilt. 


8  WIMBORNE    MINSTER 

The  names  of  many  of  the  other  ecclesiastics  connected 
with  the  church  are  known :  among  these,  we  need  only 
mention  William  Lorynge  canon,  who  in  the  time  of  Richard 
II.  caused  the  great  bell  called  the  Cuthborow  bell  to  be 
made ;  and  Simon  Beneson,  sacrist,  who  left  land,  which  vs 
called  Bell  Acre,  towards  the  maintenance  and  repair  of  the 
bells. 

Among  other  benefactors  of  the  church  was  Margaret, 
Countess  of  Richmond,  mother  of  Henry  VII.,  so  well  known 
at  Cambridge  under  the  name  of  Lady  Margaret,  the  foundress 
of  Christ's  and  St  John's  Colleges.  She  founded  at  Wimborne 
the  original  seminary  connected  with  the  minster,  which  after- 
wards became  by  a  charter  of  Elizabeth  the  Grammar  School 
of  the  town,  and  presented  splendid  vestments  to  the  church. 
July  9th  was  until  the  Reformation  kept  at  the  minster  as  a 
festival  to  her  memory,  with  a  special  office  and  High  Mass. 

When  the  deanery  was  abolished,  Wimborne  Minster 
became  a  Royal  Peculiar,  under  the  administration  of  three 
priest-vicars  elected  by  the  Corporation.  These  served  each 
for  a  month  in  turn.  The  Corporation  had  the  power  of 
appointing  one  of  the  three  vicars — who  was  known  as  the 
"Official" — to  hold  courts  and  grant  licences.  The  court  was 
held  in  the  western  part  of  the  north  aisle,  the  Official  pre- 
siding, seated  at  a  desk,  the  two  other  vicars  sitting  one  on 
each  side  of  him,  while  at  a  long  table  sat  the  churchwardens, 
sidesmen,  the  vestry  clerks,  and  the  apparitors. 

The  arrangement  by  which  the  vicars  served  the  church 
each  in  turn  continued  in  force  until  1876.  At  that  time 
one  of  the  three  vicars  retired  on  a  pension  ;  another  removed 
to  the  chapelry  of  Holt,  three  miles  from  Wimborne  (which  had 
previously  been  served  in  turn  by  the  vicars  of  Wimborne),  a 
parsonage  having  been  built  for  his  accommodation  ;  and  the 
third  became  sole  vicar  of  the  minster  church  and  the  parish 
attached  to  it. 

For  the  history  of  the  fabric  we  have  to  trust  almost  en- 
tirely to  the  architectural  features  of  the  church  itself,  as 
documentary  evidence  is  unusually  scanty. 

Nothing  of  earlier  date  than  the  twelfth  century  can  be 
seen  in  Wimborne  Minster,  but  we  know  pretty  accurately,  the 
extent  and  form  of  the  Norman  Church  ;  for,  during  the  course 


HISTORY   OF   THE    BUILDING  9 

of  restoration  undertaken  in  the  present  century,  the  founda- 
tions of  some  parts  of  this  church  were  discovered  beneath 
the  floor  of  the  existing  building,  and  other  pieces  of  Norman 
work  formerly  concealed,  and  now  again  concealed  beneath 
plaster,  were  laid  bare.  There  is  one  interesting  feature  about 
the  church  worthy  of  notice — namely,  that  the  builders  who 
succeeded  one  another  at  the  various  periods  of  its  history 
did  not,  as  a  rule,  destroy  the  work  of  their  predecessors  to 
such  an  extent  as  we  frequently  find  to  have  been  the  case 
with  the  builders  of  other  churches  :  possibly  this  may  have 
been  due  to  the  fact  that  at  no  time  was  Wimborne  Minster 
a  rich  foundation.  There  was  no  saintly  shrine,  there  were 
no  wonder-working  relics  to  attract  pilgrims  and  gather  the 
offerings  of  the  faithful  and  enrich  the  church  in  the  way  in 
which  the  shrine  of  Saint  Cuthbert  enriched  Durham,  that  of 
the  murdered  archbishop  enriched  Canterbury,  and  that  of 
the  murdered  king  enriched  Gloucester.  But,  whatever  the 
reason  may  have  been,  we  can  but  be,  thankful  that  the 
mediaeval  builders  destroyed  so  little  at  Wimborne ;  while  we 
regret  that  modern  restorers  have  not  been  as  scrupulous  in 
preserving  the  work  which  they  found  existing,  but  have  in 
some  instances  endeavoured  to  put  the  church  back  again  into 
the  state  in  which  they  imagined  the  fourteenth-century  builders 
left  it. 

We  may  regard  the  arches  and  lower  stages  of  the  central 
tower  as  the  oldest  part  now  remaining  in  its  original  condition. 
No  doubt  the  Norman  choir  was  the  first  to  be  built,  as  we 
find  that  it  was  almost  the  universal  custom  to  begin  churches 
at  the  eastern  end,  and  gradually  to  extend  the  building 
westward,  as  funds  and  time  allowed.  Here,  however,  as 
in  many  other  cases,  the  small  Norman  choir  eastward  of  the 
central  tower  in  course  of  time  was  considered  too  small, 
and  the  eastern  termination  had  to  be  demolished  to  admit 
of  the  desired  extension  to  the  east.  Norman  choirs,  as  a 
rule,  had  an  apsidal  termination  to  the  east,  and  it  was 
not  till  Early  English  times  that  square  east  ends,  which  were 
characteristic  of  the  English  church  in  pre-Norman  times, 
prevailed  again  over  the  Norman  custom  ;  and  it  is  worthy  of 
notice  that  this  rectangular  termination  towards  the  east  end 
remains  a  marked  characteristic  of  the  thirteenth-century 
work  in  England,  Continental  church-builders  having  retained 


lo  WIMBORNE   MINSTER 

the  apsidal  termination  till  the  Renaissance.  The  side  walls 
of  the  Norman  choir  extended  two  bays  to  the  east  of  the 
central  tower,  and  the  nave  four  bays  westward  of  the  same. 
The  transepts  were  shorter  than  at  present,  and  the  side 
aisles  of  the  nave  narrower.  There  appear  to  have  been  two 
side  chapels  to  the  choir,  extending  as  far  as  the  first  bay 
eastward ;  beyond  this  to  the  east  were  two  Norman  windows 
on  each  side-:  these  windows,  parts  of  which  remain,  cut  off 
by  the  Early  English  arches,  were  round-headed,  and  richly 
ornamented  with  chevron  mouldings.  They  were  uncovered 
at  the  time  of  the  restoration,  but  are  now  again  hidden  by 
plaster.  At  the  south  end  of  the  south  transept  a  low  build- 
ing seems  to  have  existed  :  the  walls  of  this  were  raised  when 
the  south  transept  was  lengthened  in  the  fourteenth  century. 
The  Norman  masonry  may  be  seen  under  the  south  window 
of  the  transept,  and  a  Norman  string  course  runs  round  the 
sides  and  ends  of  the  present  transept.  The  aisles  of  the 
nave  were  not  only  narrower,  but  were  also  lower,  than  those 
now  existing.  It  is  also  probable  that  these  aisles  did  not 
originally  extend  as  far  westward  as  the  nave.  The  windows 
of  the  Norman  clerestory,  which  may  still  be  seen  from  the 
interior,  though  all  similar  in  design,  are  not  alike  in  work- 
manship. The  one  over  the  narrow  eastern  bay  on  either 
side  differs  from  those  over  the  three  bays  farther  to  the  west. 
Moreover,  a  continuous  foundation  has  been  discovered  under- 
neath the  three  western  arches  of  the  Norman  nave.  Possibly 
there  was  at  one  time  a  solid  wall  in  this  position,  intended, 
however,  from  the  first  only  to  be  temporary,  and  this  was  re- 
moved when  the  aisles,  still  in  Norman  times,  were  lengthened. 
The  tower  itself  was  not  all  built  at  the  same  time ;  the  upper 
stages  are  ornamented  with  an  arcading  of  intersecting  arches 
indicating  a  somewhat  later  date. 

In  the  thirteenth  century  the  east  end  of  the  choir  seems 
to  have  been  removed  and  the  presbytery  added  :  its  date  is 
pretty  clearly  determined  by  the  east  window,  in  which  we 
notice  some  signs  of  the  approaching  change  from  the  Early 
English  simple  lancet  into  the  plate  tracery  of  the  Decorated 
period.  Rickman  gives  its  approximate  date  as  1220.  During 
the  fourteenth  century  the  nave  aisles  were  widened  and 
extended  farther  west,  and  at  the  same  time  two  bays  were 
added  to  the  nave  itself.     The   Norman    chapels   on   either 


HISTORY   OF   THE   BUILDING  ii 

side  of  the  choir  were  lengthened  into  aisles,  not,  however, 
extending  as  far  to  the  east  as  the  thirteenth-century  presby- 
tery ;  arches  were  cut  in  the  Norman  choir  walls  to  give 
access  to  these  new  aisles.  The  transepts  were  lengthened, 
the  south  one  by  raising  the  walls  of  the  Norman  chapel 
mentioned  above,  which,  it  has  been  conjectured,  was  used 
as  the  Lady  Chapel,  the  north  transept  by  the  addition  of 
Bembre's  chantry. 

During  the  fifteenth  century  the  western  tower  was  built 
1448 — 1464,  and  probably  at  the  same  time  the  walls  of  the 
nave  were  raised ;  and  the  roofs  of  the  nave  aisles,  which  had 
been  much  lower  than  now,  so  as  not  to  block  up  the  Norman 
clerestory  windows,  were  raised  on  the  sides  joining  the  nave 
walls  above  the  heads  of  these  windows,  and  a  new  clerestory 
was  formed  in  the  raised  wall.  This  contains  five  windows 
on  each  side,  each  window  being  placed  over  one  of  the  piers 
of  the  nave  arcading. 

During  the  Early  English  period,  probably  by  John  de 
Berwick,  who  was  dean  from  1286  —  1312,  a  spire  was 
added  to  the  central  tower.  This  was  for  long  in  an  un- 
safe condition,  and  at  length,  in  1600,  it  fell.  The  following 
is  the  description  given  by  Coker,  a  contemporary  writer : 
"  Having  discoursed  this  longe  of  this  church,  I  will  not 
overpasse  a  strange  accident  which  in  our  dayes  happened 
unto  it,  viz.  Anno  Domini  1600  (the  choire  beeing  then  full 
of  people  at  tenne  of  clock  service,  allsoe  the  streets  by 
reason  of  the  markett),  a  sudden  mist  ariseing,  all  the  spire 
steeple,  being  of  a  very  great  height,  was  strangely  cast 
downe,  the  stones  battered  all  the  lead  and  brake  much 
timber  of  the  roofe  of  the  church,  yet  without  anie  hurt  to 
the  people ;  which  ruin  is  sithence  commendablie  repaired 
with  the  church  revenues,  for  sacriledge  hath  not  yet  swept 
awaye  all,  being  assisted  by  Sir  John  Hannam,  a  neighbour 
gentleman,  who  if  I  mistake  not  enjoyeth  revenues  of  the 
church,  and  hath  done  commendablie  to  convert  part  of  it 
to  its  former  use."  Other  accounts  mention  a  tempest  at 
the  time  of  the  fall.  It  is  not  unlikely  that  the  tower  was 
weakened  by  the  alterations  in  the  fourteenth  century,  when 
wider  arches  were  cut  in  the  west  walls  of  the  transepts,  in 
consequence  of  the  widening  of  the  nave  aisles.  The  fall 
of  the   spire,    which   fell   towards   the   east,    demolished   the 


12  WIMBORNE    MINSTER 

clerestory  windows  of  the  choir  on  the  south  side,  and  their 
place  was  supplied  by  a  long,  low  Tudor  window  oblong 
in  shape  and  quite  plain.  The  windows,  Jipwever,  on  both 
sides  have  been  entirely  altered,  and  those  now  existing  in 
the  clerestory  are  small  lancets  of  modern  date. 

The  spire  was  not  rebuilt,  but  the  heavy  looking  battlement 
and  solid  pinnacles  which  still  remain,  and  detract  considerably 
from  the  beauty  of  the  tower,  were  added  as  a  finish  to  it  in  the 
.year  1608.  It  is  curious  that  the  churchwardens'  books,  in 
which  many  entries  occur  detailing  repairs  and  other  work 
connected  with  the  spire,  make  no  mention  of  its  fall. 

The  western  tower  was  also  a  source  of  trouble.  It  was  built, 
as  has  been  already  mentioned,  during  the  latter  half  of  the 
fifteenth  century,  the  glazing  of  the  windows  being  completed 
in  1464  ;  but  as  early  as  1548  it  was  thought  necessary  to  brick 
up  the  west  doorway,  and  notices  of  unsoundness  of  the  tower 
occur  frecjuently  in  the  church  books.  In  1664  we  find  the 
following  entry  made: — "Paid  in  beere  to  the  Ringers  for  a 

£  s  d 

peale  to  trye  if  the  Tower  shooke  o  i  o."  As  we  read 
this  entry,  we  cannot  help  wondering  if  the  large  amount  of 
beer  which  a  shilling  would  purchase  in  those  days  was  given 
to  the  ringers  so  as  to  give  them  a  fictitious  courage  and  blind 
their  eyes  to  the  possible  danger  of  bringing  the  tower  down 
upon  their  heads.  In  1739  the  Perpendicular  window  in  the 
western  face  of  the  tower  was  taken  out  and  a  smaller  oval  one 
put  in  its  place,  with  a  view  to  the  strengthening  of  the  wall  by 
additional  stonework.  The  modern  restorer,  however,  has 
again  put  a  window  of  Perpendicular  character  in  place  of 
the  oval  window  inserted  in  the  last  century,  using  to  aid  him 
in  his  design,  sundry  fragments  of  the  original  tracery  found 
embedded  in  the  walls. 

Before  the  nineteenth-century  restorations,  the  pulpit,  prob- 
ably late  sixteenth-century  work,  stood  in  the  nave  against 
the  middle  pillar  on  the  north  side,  and  the  nave  and  choir 
were  separated  by  a  screen  of  three  arches  on  which  stood  the 
organ.  The  central  arch  had  doors.  On  either  side  of  the  choir 
were  a  set  of  canopied  stalls  :  these  canopies  were  removed  in 
1855  to  make  the  chancel  aisles  available  for  a  congregation.  As 
the  canopies  interfered  with  both  sight  and  sound,  the  floor  of 
the  choir  was  lowered  to  only  three  steps  above  the  nave,  and 


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14  WIMBORNE   MINSTER 

the  stalls  reduced  to  four  on  each  side,  with  a  view  to  make 
room  for  restoring  the  Norman  steps  indicated  by  traces  on  the 
wall  under  the  floor,  which  led  up  to  the  high  altar  of  the 
Norman  church.  The  arrangement  of  steps  was  then  three 
from  the  nave  to  the  choir,  four  from  the  choir  to  the  next 
level  to  the  east,  and  seven  from  this  to  the  presbytery, 
and  one  more  to  the  altar  platform.  In  1866  further 
changes  were  made  :  the  remaining  stalls  were  taken  away, 
and  the  present  seats  for  the  choir  and  the  reading-desk 
were  manufactured  out  of  the  old  woodwork.  The  level 
of  the  floors  was  also  rearranged ;  five  steps  now  lead  up 
from  the  nave  to  the  choir,  seven  to  the  presbytery  and 
one  more  to  the  altar  platform,  the  altar  itself  being  raised  yet 
another  step. 

During  the  restoration  carried  on  from  1855  to  1857,  great 
changes  besides  those  already  mentioned  were  made  in  the 
interior :  the  whitewash  and  plaster  were  removed  from  the 
walls,  a  west  gallery  was  taken  down,  the  nave  re-seated,  the 
organ  transferred  from  its  position  upon  the  screen  to  the 
south  transept,  and  much  mischief  was  done  from  an 
archaeological  standpoint,  a  thing  which  seems  almost 
inseparable  from  any  nineteenth-century  restoration. 

An  examination  of  the  masonry  shows  clearly  that  all  the 
exterior  walls  east  of  the  transepts  save  the  east  wall  of  the 
presbytery,  which  is  somewhat  out  of  the  vertical,  the  top 
hanging  forward,  have  been  if  not  entirely  rebuilt  at  anyrate 
completely  refaced,  and  this  work  was  no  doubt  done  at  the 
restoration  at  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century.  The 
doorway  in  the  middle  of  the  north  choir  aisle  is  entirely 
modern ;  the  doorway  which  formally  occupied  this  place  was 
provided  with  a  small  porch. 

How  far  this  rebuilding  and  refacing  were  rendered 
necessary  by  the  condition  of  the  walls  at  that  time  it  is  now 
impossible  to  say.  The  fact  that  the  walls  of  the  nave  aisles 
were  not  similarly  treated  may  have  been  due  to  want  of 
funds,  or  it  may  be  that  the  architects  employed  found  them 
in  a  better  condition  than  the  walls  of  the  choir  aisles,  and  so 
preserved  them,  though  they  considered  the  latter  beyond  the 
possibility  of  preservation  without  the  extensive  renewing  that 
evidently  took  place. 

The  room  containing  the  chained  library  was  at  the  same 


HISTORY   OF  THE   BUILDING  15 

time  refitted.     New  shelves  and  rods  were  provided,  but  the 
old  chains  were  used  again. 

The  restoration  of  1855-1857  did  not  -extend  to  the 
transept;  but  these  were  taken  in  hand  in  1891,  with  the 
usual  result — namely,  the  destruction  of  some  existing  features, 
such  as  the  seventeenth-century  tracery  of  the  north  window, 
to  make  room  for  a  nineteenth-century  window  in  Decorated 
style,  which,  however,  differs  altogether  from  any  window  in  the 
minster ;  the  walls  were  raised  about  two  feet  and  a  roof  of 
higher  pitch  put  upon  them,  which  necessitated  alterations  in 
the  gables.  A  sundial  which  stood  at  the  summit  of  the  south 
gable  was  taken  down,  and  this  in  1894  was  erected  on  a 
pillar  built  in  the  churchyard,  a  short  distance  from  the  south 
wall  of  the  western  tower.  The  transept  previous  to  the 
restoration  with  the  sun-dial  on  its  gable  is  shown  in  the 
illustration  on  p.  19. 


CHAPTER   II 

THE   EXTERIOR 

WiMBORNE  Minster  does  not  occupy  a  commanding  position — 
it  stands  on  level  ground,  its  two  towers  are  not  lofty,  the 
western  only  reaching  the  height  of  95  feet  and  the  central 
84  feet — but  it  has  the  advantage  of  having  an  extensive  church- 
yard both  on  the  south  side  and  also  on  the  north,  so  that 
from  either  side  a  good  general  view  of  the  building  may  be 
obtained.  A  street  running  from  the  east  end  of  the  church 
towards  the  north  gives  the  spectator  the  advantage  of  a  still 
more  distant  standpoint,  from  which  the  towers,  transepts,  choir, 
and  porch  group  themselves  into  one  harmonious  whole,  the 
long  line  of  iron  railings  bounding  the  churchyard  being  the 
only  drawback.  The  first  impression  is  that  there  is  some- 
thing wrong  with  the  central  tower ;  the  plain  heavy  battlement, 
with  its  four  enormous  corner  pinnacles,  seems  to  overweight 
the  tower,  and  as  each  side  of  the  parapet  is  longer  than  the 
side  of  the  tower  below,  the  feeling  of  top-heaviness  is  in- 
creased. The  central  tower  has  no  buttresses,  but  the  western 
has  an  octagonal  buttress  at  each  corner,  and  these  decrease 
in  cross  section  at  each  of  four  string  courses ;  so  that  this 
tower  seems  to  taper,  and  by  contrast  makes  the  central  tower 
seem  to  bulge  out  at  the  top  more  than  it  really  does. 

But  Wimborne  Minster  does  not  stand  alone  in  giving  at  first 
sight  a  feeling  that  something  is  wanting  to  perfect  beauty. 
In  nearly  every  old  building  which  has  gradually  grown  up, 
been  altered  and  enlarged  by  various  generations  as  need  arose, 
each  generation  working  in  its  own  style,  and  often  with  little 
regard  to  what  already  existed,  incongruities  are  sure  to  be 
discernible.  But  what  is  lost  in  unity  of  design  increases  the 
interest  in  the  building,  historically  and  architecturally  re- 
garded. And  it  is  worthy  of  notice  that  at  Wimborne,  more 
than  at  many  places,  the  enlargers  of  the  church  have  con- 

16 


THE    EXTERIOR  17 

tented  themselves  with  adding  to  the  building  without  removing 
the  work  of  their  predecessors  more  than  was  absolutely 
necessary.  A  very  cursory  glance  at  the  exterior  of  the 
building  as  one  walks  round  it  is  sufficient  to  show  that  the 
church  as  it  stands  offers  to  the  student  of  architecture  ex- 
amples of  every  style  that  has  prevailed  in  this  country  from 
the  twelfth  century  onward,  and  he  will  especially  rejoice  at 
seeing  so  much  fourteenth-century  work.  He  will,  as  he 
passes  along  the  narrow  footway  beneath  the  east  end  of  the 
choir,  regret  that  more  space  is  not  available  here  to  get  a 
good  view  of  the  most  interesting  Early  English  window.  If 
a  small  tree  were  felled,  and  the  wall  of  a  garden  or  yard  on 
the  side  of  the  footpath  opposite  to  the  church  pulled  down, 
so  as  to  throw  open  the  east  end  of  the  choir,  it  would  be  a 
great  improvement.  But  this  regret  can  be  endured,  as,  though 
the  window  cannot  be  well  seen,  it  is  there,  and  by  changing 
one's  position  a  pretty  accurate  idea  of  its  interesting  features 
can  be  formed ;  but  far  keener  is  the  regret  that  any  lover  of 
antiquity  must  feel  when  he  notices,  as  he  examines  the  church 
more  closely,  how  busy  the  nineteenth-century  restorer  has 
been,  how  he  has  raised  walls,  altered  the  pitch  of  roofs,  and 
inserted  modern  imitations  of  thirteenth  and  fourteenth 
century  work,  removing  features  which  existed  at  the  beginning 
of  this  century  to  make  room  for  his  own  work ;  how  he 
has  banished  much  of  the  old  woodwork  in  the  interior,  altered 
the  position  of  still  more,  and  generally  been  far  less  con- 
servative of  the  work  of  former  generations  than  the  mediaeval 
enlargers  of  the  minster  were.  However,  his  work  is  now 
done — nave,  towers,  and  choir  were  thoroughly  restored  about 
fifty  years  ago,  and  the  transepts  in  1891.  No  further  work 
is  contemplated  at  present.  In  fact,  there  seems  nothing 
more  that  could  well  be  done. 

The  church  is  built  partly  of  a  warm  brown  sandstone, 
partly  of  stone  of  a  pale  yellow  or  drab  colour,  the  two  kinds 
being  in  many  places  mixed  so  as  to  give  the  walls  a  chequered 
appearance.  This  may  be  noticed  both  outside  and  inside 
the  building.  In  some  of  the  walls  the  stones  are  used 
irregularly,  in  others  they  are  carefully  squared.  The  red 
stone  is  to  be  met  with  in  the  neighbourhood  :  some  of  that 
used  for  raising  the  transept  walls  in  189 1  was  obtained  from  a 
bridge  in  the  town  that  was  being  rebuilt ;  and  from  marks  on 


i8  WIMBORNE    MINSTER 

some  of  those  stones  it  appeared  that  before  being  in  the 
bridge  they  had  been  used  in  some  ecclesiastical  building, 
so  that  they  have  now  returned  to  their  original  use.  There 
is  little  ornament  to  be  seen  outside,  save  on  the  upper  stage 
of  the  tower ;  in  fact,  the  whole  building  excepting  the  arches 
of  the  nave  and  the  tower  may  be  described  as  severely  plain 
in  character.  The  college  was  never  wealthy,  hence  probably 
it  could  not  employ  a  number  of  carvers ;  then  again  it  was 
not  a  monastic  establishment,  so  that  there  were  no  monks 
to  occupy  their  time  in  the  embellishment  of  the  building, 
carving,  as  monks  often  did,  their  quaint  fancies  on  bosses  and 
capitals.  We  miss  the  crockets  and  finials,  the  ball-flower, 
and  other  ornaments  that  we  meet  with  in  so  many  fourteenth- 
century  buildings;  but  the  very  simplicity  of  the  work  gives 
the  church  a  dignity  that  is  often  wanting  in  more  highly 
ornamented  structures.  The  small  number  of  the  buttresses 
in  the  body  of  the  church  is  noteworthy ;  save  at  the  angles 
there  are  only  five — namely,  two  on  each  nave  aisle,  and  one 
on  the  north  choir  aisle.  At  each  of  the  eastern  corners  of 
the  choir  aisles  the  buttresses  are  set  diagonally,  as  also  are 
those  on  the  northern  corners  of  the  north  porch.  There 
is  a  buttress  on  each  of  the  side  walls  of  the  north  porch, 
and  two  set  at  right  angles  to  each  other  at  each  of  the 
two  corners  of  the  north  transept,  and  also  at  the  south- 
west corner  of  the  south  transept;  beneath  the  east  window 
of  the  choir  there  is  a  small  one.  The  buttresses  at  the 
corner  of  the  choir  project  but  slightly.  The  central  tower 
has  none,  but  the  west  tower  has  an  octagonal  buttress  at 
each  corner.  The  central  tower  attracts  notice  first.  From 
the  outside  at  the  angles  a  small  portion  of  the  plain  wall 
of  the  triforium  stage  may  be  seen,  against  which  the  roofs  of 
the  choir  and  transepts  abut ;  the  nave  roof,  however,  hides  all 
of  this  stage  at  the  western  face :  above  this  face  is  a  band  of 
red-brown  sandstone,  and  above  this  the  clerestory  stage.  In 
each  face  are  two  round-headed  windows  with  a  pointed  blank 
arch  between  them.  There  are  six  slender  shafts  to  support 
the  outer  order  of  moulding  over  the  two  windows  and  the 
blank  arch,  and  two  of  a  similar  character  to  support  the 
inner  ring  of  moulding  over  each  window.  At  each  corner 
of  the  tower  up  to  the  top  of  this  stage  runs  a  slender  banded 
shaft.     This  stage  is  finished  by  a  string  course,  above  which 


THE   MINSTER   FROM   THE   SOUTH-EAST   BEFORE   1891. 


20  WIMBORNE   MINSTER 

the  tower  walls  recede  slightly,  the  walls  of  the  upper  or  belfry 
storey  being  a  little  thinner  than  those  below.  This  stage, 
perfectly  plain  within,  is  the  most  richly-ornamented  part  of 
the  tower  outside  :  it  is  the  latest  Norman  work  to  be  found 
in  the  minster,  and  probably  may  be  dated  late  in  the  twelfth 
century.  An  arcading  of  intersecting  round-headed  arches  runs 
all  round  this  storey.  Seven  pointed  arches  are  thus  formed 
in  each  face ;  between  these  arches  stand  slender  pillars  with 
well  carved  capitals  which  show  a  great  variety  of  design. 
Five  of  the  seven  arches  on  each  face  were  originally  open^ 
save  possibly  for  louvre-boards  placed  to  keep  out  the  rain;  now 
all  but  the  central  one  on  each  face  are  walled  up,  and  the 
centre  one  is  glazed.  This  filling  up  was  not  all  done  at  the 
same  time,  as  the  varying  character  of  the  stone  shows.  The 
work  was  no  doubt  begun  in  order  to  strengthen  the  walls  when 
the  spire  was  added,  and  was  continued  from  time  to  time  as 
the  necessity  for  further  strengthening  arose.  Above  the 
stage  was  a  bold  corbel  table,  and  this  is  the  upper  limit  of 
the  Norman  work.  There  can  be  little  doubt  that  the  Norman 
builder,  here  as  elsewhere,  finished  his  tower  with  a  low  pyra- 
midal roof  with  overhanging  eaves  to  shoot  off  the  rain.  This 
covering  may  have  been  of  lead,  but  possibly  of  stone  tiles  or 
wooden  shingles.  About  a  century  later  this  Norman  roof  was 
removed  to  make  place  for  a  loftier  roof  or  spire.  Of  its 
character  and  material  and  height  we  know  nothing — there  is 
no  description  of  it ;  and  though  the  minster  is  represented  on 
an  old  seal  with  one  spire-crowned  tower,  yet  the  representation 
of  the  rest  of  the  church  is  so  conventional  that  it  cannot 
be  regarded  as  an  authentic  record  of  the  actual  appearance 
of  the  steeple.  It  is  curious  that,  as  it  stood  for  about  three 
hundred  years  and  fell  only  in  the  later  years  of  Elizabeth's 
reign,  no  drawing  remains  to  show  us  what  this  spire  was 
like.  But  it  passed  away,  doing  some  damage  to  the  building 
in  its  fall,  and  that  is  the  only  record  it  has  left  behind  ;  but 
we  can  well  picture  to  ourselves  how  much  importance  must 
have  been  added  to  the  minster  by  this  spire,  which  must  have 
been  a  conspicuous  object  for  many  miles  round.  The  present 
heavy,  ugly  battlemented  parapet  spoils  the  general  effect  of 
the  tower ;  and  though  we  are  adverse  to  the  sweeping  away  of 
any  features  of  an  old  building,  even  when  the  features  are  in- 
harmonious and  even  ugly — because  this  is,  as  it  were,  tearing  a 


THE   NORTH   TRANSEPT  BEFORE  1891, 


22  WIMBORNE   MINSTER 

page  of  stone  from  the  book  of  the  history  of  the  building — 
yet  we  must  confess  we  could  have  regarded  the  loss  of  the 
seventeenth  -  century  parapet  and  pinnacles  with  much  less 
regret  than  other  features  which  the  restorer  has  tampered 
with. 

The  North  Porch,  which  was  evidently  always  intended  to 
be,  as  it  is  to  this  day,  the  chief  entrance  into  the  church,  consists 
of  two  bays  marked  externally  by  buttresses  on  each  side  :  the 
inner  order  of  moulding  to  the  arch  giving  access  to  this  porch 
springs  from  two  shafts  of  Purbeck  marble ;  the  outer  orders 
are  carried  up  from  the  base  without  any  capitals  or  imposts. 
The  height  of  the  crown  of  the  inner  arch  above  the  capitals 
from  which  it  springs  is  somewhat  less  than  half  the  width 
at  the  bottom,  and  the  radius  of  the  curvature  of  the  arches 
is  greater  than  the  width.  Over  the  arch  is  a  square-headed  two- 
light  window,  lighting  the  room  over  the  entrance.  The  roof 
differs  from  all  the  other  roofs  of  the  church  since  it  is  covered 
with  stone  tiles,  while  the  others  are  covered  with  lead.  There 
are  buttresses  set  diagonally  at  the  two  northern  angles  of  the 
porch. 

Between  the  porch  and  the  transept  are  three  two-light 
Decorated  windows.  The  tracery  of  all  these  is  alike,  but 
differs  from  that  of  the  two  windows  to  the  west  of  the  porch. 
The  most  picturesque  feature  of  the  north  transept  is  the  turret 
containing  the  staircase  by  which  access  is  obtained  to  the 
tower.  This,  before  the  church  was  enlarged  in  the  fourteenth 
century,  formed  the  north-west  angle  of  the  Norman  transept : 
projecting  towards  the  north,  its  base  is  rectangular.  This 
rectangular  portion  rises  nearly  to  the  level  of  the  tops  of  the 
aisle  windows,  above  this  level  the  turret  is  circular,  and  rising 
above  the  transept  roof  is  capped  by  a  low  conical  roof  of 
stone  tiles.  Two  string  courses  run  round  it,  one  at  the 
bottom  of  the  circular  part,  and  one  a  little  higher  up.  This 
turret  was  once  known  as  the  "  Ivy  Tower,"  from  the  ivy  that 
grew  on  it,  but  this -was  all  removed  at  the  time  when  the 
transept  was  altered  in  1891.  At  that  time  the  side  wallswere 
raised  about  two  feet,  and  the  roof  was  raised  to  the  original 
pitch  of  the  Norman  transept,  and  at  the  same  time  the  tracery 
of  the  north  window,  which  was  of  a  very  plain  and  clumsy 
character,  seventeenth-century  work,  was  removed  and  the 
existing   tracery   inserted.     Much   picturesqueness    has    been 


THE   EXTERIOR 


23 


sacrificed  to  make  these  changes.  The  portion  of  this 
transept  to  the  north  of  the  turret  was  added  about  the 
middle  of  the  fourteenth  century  to  form  the  chantry  founded 
by  Bembre,  who  was  dean  from  1350 — 1361.  This  part 
contains,  besides  the  large  window,  two  smaller  two-light 
windows,  which  look  out  respectively  to  the  east  and  west. 
The  tracery  in  these  is  almost  entirely  modern.  Beyond  the 
transept  is  the  wall  of  the  north  choir  aisle.  This  stands  farther 
to  the  north  than  the 
wall  of  the  nave  aisle ; 
in  fact,  it  is  in  a  line 
with  the  original  north 
end  of  the  Norman 
transept.  In  this  wall, 
close  to  the  transept,  is 
a  small  round  -  headed 
doorway.  And,  farther 
to  the  east,  is  another 
larger  pointed  doorway 
between  the  second  and 
third  windows  of  the 
choiraisle,  countingfrom 
the  transept  eastward. 
This  doorway  is  en- 
closed by  a  triangular 
moulding  very  plain  in 
character,  but  none  of 
it  is  original.  The  three 
windows  are  each  of 
two  lights.  The  tracery 
of  these  three  is  alike, 
but  differs  from  that 
of  the  windows  in  the 
nave  aisle.  The  east 
window  of  the  north 
aisle  is  of  five  lights. 
The  enclosing  arch  is 
not  very  pointed  — 
much  less  so  than  in 
the  narrower  windows 
up    through    the   head 


The  East  Window. 

(From  Parker's  "Introduction  to  Gothic 

Architecture.") 


of 
of 


the  aisles — and 
the   window. 


each 
These 


light 


runs 
and    the 


24  WIMBORNE    MINSTER 

corresponding   south  choir  aisle  windows  are  late  Decorated 
work. 

Unfortunately  the  churchyard  does  not  extend  to  the  east 
of  the  church.  A  narrow  footway,  bounded  to  the  east  by 
cottages  and  garden  walls,  renders  it  impossible  to  photograph 
the  east  window  of  the  choir.  This  is  a  most  interesting  one ; 
and  has  been  figured  in  most  books  on  architecture.  It  con- 
sists externally  of  three  lancets  enclosed  in  a  peculiar  way  by 
weather  moulding ;  this  rises  separately  over  the  head  of  each 
lancet,  and  between  the  windows  runs  in  a  horizontal  line 
and  is  continued  to  the  square  corner  buttresses.  Within 
this  moulding,  and  over  the  heads  of  each  lancet,  there  is 
an  opening  pierced  :  the  central  one  is  a  quatrefoil,  while  the 
other  two  have  six  points.  These  openings  are  a  very  early 
example  of  plate  tracery,  which  was  fully  developed  in  the 
Early  Decorated  style.  This  window  belongs  to  the  Early 
English  period,  and  may  be  dated  about  1220.  There  will 
be  occasion  to  refer  to  this  window  again  when  speaking  of 
the  interior  of  the  church.  The  south  choir  aisle  has  a  five- 
light  east  window  closely  corresponding  to  the  window  of  the 
north  aisle,  and  on  the  south  two  three-light  windows.  In 
these,  as  in  the  east  aisle  windows,  the  lights  are  carried  up 
through  the  heads.  There  is  no  doorway  giving  access  to 
this  aisle  from  the  outside. 

The  angle  between  the  choir  aisle  and  south  transept  is 
filled  up  with  the  vestry  and  the  library  above  it.  The  south 
wall  of  this  projects  beyond  the  wall  of  the  south  transept. 
This  vestry  is  of  Decorated  date,  possibly  rather  later  than 
the  other  Decorated  work  in  the  minster.  The  upper  storey 
forms  the  library.  Its  walls  are  finished  at  the  top  by  a 
plain  parapet  which  conceals  the  flat  roof.  At  the  south- 
western angle  is  an  octagonal  turret  staircase,  capped  by  a 
pyramidal  roof  rising  from  within  a  battlemented  parapet, 
and  terminating  in  a  carved  finial.  This  is  of  Perpendicular 
character.  From  the  sharpness  of  the  stone  at  the  coigns 
it  would  seem  that  very  extensive  restoration,  if  not  absolute 
rebuilding,  of  the  walls  was  carried  on  in  this  part  of  the 
church.  The  south  transept  is  rather  shorter  than  that  on 
the  north  side ;  but,  unlike  it,  all  the  walls  up  to  the 
level  of  the  window  are  of  Norman  date.  The  string  courses 
on    the   western   side   are    worthy    of  close    attention.     One 


THE   EXTERIOR  25 

which  runs  under  the  south  window  is  continued  round  the 
Perpendicular  buttresses  at  the  south-west  angle,  and  then 
again  joins  the  original  course  on  the  western  face  and  runs 
to  within  a  few  feet  of  the  nave  aisle,  where  it  abruptly 
terminates.  Above  this  for  several  feet  the  walls  have  the 
same  character  as  below ;  then  the  character  changes,  and  this 
change  probably  marks  the  junction  of  the  Norman  with  the 
Decorated  work,  which  was  added  when  the  Norman  chapel, 
which  occupied  the  lower  part  of  what  is  now  the  south  end 
of  the  transept,  was  incorporated  in  the  transept.  Vertically 
above  the  termination  of  the  string  course  just  mentioned, 
but  at  a  considerably  liigher  level,  another  string  course 
abruptly  begins  and  runs  along  the  wall,  until  it  passes  within 
the  roof  of  the  nave  aisle.  The  south  end  of  this  shows  the 
length  to  which  the  original  Norman  transept  extended  before 
the  walls  of  the  chapel  to  the  south  were  carried  up  in  the 
fourteenth  century  to  form  the  addition  to  the  transept.  In 
the  southern  wall  of  this  new  transept  was  placed  a  large 
five-light  decorated  window.  In  this,  as  in  several  of  the 
other  Decorated  windows  already  described,  the  lights  run 
up  to  the  enclosing  arch  above.  The  tracery  of  this  window, 
as  it  now  exists,  dates  back  only  to  the  time  when  the  church 
was  restored  in  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century.  Up 
to  1 89 1  the  side  walls  were  about  two  feet  lower  than  at 
present,  and  the  gable  more  obtuse.  At  the  summit  of  the  old 
gable  stood  a  block  of  masonry  carrying  a  sundial ;  this, 
when  the  transept  was  altered,  was  removed,  the  new  gable 
being  finished  with  a  cross.  A  pillar  was  built  in  the 
churchyard  to  the  south  of  the  western  tower  in  1894,  and 
on  it  the  block  from  the  transept  bearing  the  sundial  was 
I)luced.  This  sundial  has  two  dates  on  it — 1696  and  1752, 
marking,  no  doubt,  the  year  of  its  original  erection  and  of 
some  subsequent  repair.  It  is  noteworthy  that  the  figures 
used  in  these  two  dates  differ  in  character, — the  eighteenth- 
century  carver  who  incised  the  later  date  not  thinking  it 
incumbent  on  him  to  make  his  figures  match  those  of  his  pre- 
decessor. The  three  aisle  windows  between  the  south  transept 
and  the  south  porch  are  two-light  Decorated  windows  with 
tracery,  some  of  it  original,  corresponding  to  that  of  those  on 
the  opposite  side  in  the  north  aisle. 

The  South  Porch  is  small,  and  the  side  walls  do  not  project 


26  WIMBORNE   MINSTER 

far  from  the  aisle.  Above  the  arch  is  a  carving  of  a  lamb  much 
weathered,  and  on  the  gable  stands  a  fragment  of  a  cross. 
The  gates  beneath  the  outer  arch  are  kept  locked  save  on 
Sundays,  as  are  frequently  the  gates  in  the  railings  surrounding 
the  churchyard  to  the  south  of  the  minster,  which  is  divided  from 
the  churchyard  on  the  north  side  by  the  church  itself  and  by  rail- 
ings at  the  east  and  west  ends  of  it.  To  the  west  of  the  porch  are 
two  more  two-light  windows,  corresponding  in  character  with  the 
windows  opposite  in  the  north  aisle.  The  clerestory  windows 
of  the  nave  are  of  Perpendicular  date,  fifteenth-century  work, 
and  have  not  any  beauty.  Each  has  three  foliated  lights 
under  a  round-headed  moulding.  Above  each  of  these  three 
there  are  two  lights,  all  enclosed  within  a  rectangular  label. 
The  nave  roof  is  higher  than  the  choir  roof  Its  aisles  have 
lean-to  roofs,  whereas  the  choir  aisles  are  wider  and  have 
gable  roofs  :  hence  the  clerestory  windows  of  the  choir,  modern 
lancets,  are  not  visible  from  the  outside. 

The  Western  Tower  is  of  four  stages,  with  octagonal 
buttresses  at  each  corner,  decreasing  in  cross  section  at 
each  course.  Of  these  the  north-eastern  one  contains  the 
stairs  leading  to  the  top  of  the  tower,  the  others  are  solid. 
These  are  crowned  with  sharp  pyramidal  turrets.  In  the 
lowest  stage  on  the  western  face  is  a  doorway  which  for 
some  time  was  stopped  up  to  strengthen  the  tower,  but 
which  was  opened  again  at  the  general  restoration.  Above 
this  is  the  west  window  of  six  lights.  Perpendicular  in  char- 
acter but  of  nineteenth-century  date.  The  third  stage — the 
ringing  room  within  is  lighted  by  four  small  windows  :  that  in 
the  west  wall  is  a  quatrefoil,  those  on  the  north  and  south 
have  single  lights  foliated  at  the  head ;  the  original  one  in 
the  east  wall  was  covered  when  the  nave  roof  was  raised,  and 
a  plain  opening  was  made  in  the  wall  farther  to  the  south. 
Above  this  is  the  belfry,  with  two  pairs  of  two-light  windows 
on  each  face :  these  are  divided  by  transoms,  and  the  arches 
at  the  tops  are  four  centred.  These  windows  are,  of  course, 
not  glazed,  but  are  furnished  with  louvre-boards.  The  tower 
is  finished  with  a  battlemented  parapet.  Just  outside  the 
easternmost  window  on  the  north  face,  and  below  the  transom, 
stands  a  figure  now  dressed  in  a  coat  of  painted  lead,  represent- 
ing a  soldier  in  the  uniform  of  the  early  part  of  the  nineteenth 
century.     He  holds  a  hammer  in  each  hand,  with  which  he 


s    ,,r 


A. 


t|:f^-*vi  it 


~1 


THE  WESTERN   TOWER. 


28  WIMBORNE   MINSTER 

strikes  the  quarters  on  two  bells  beside  him.  He  is  known  by 
the  name  of  the  "Jackman"  or  "Quarter  Jack."  There  are 
no  windows  at  the  west  ends  of  the  nave  aisles ;  but,  as  on  the 
south  side  so  on  the  north,  there  are  between  the  tower  and 
the  porch  two  two-light  Decorated  windows  in  the  wall  of  the 
aisle. 

The  level  of  the  churchyards,  as  in  the  case  with  most  old 
burying-grounds,  is  considerably  above  the  level  of  the  floor 
of  the  church.  Hence  steps  have  to  be  descended  on  entering 
the  porches,  and  again  in  passing  from  the  porches  into  the 
church.  On  the  south  side  some  levelling  of  the  ground  has 
been  done,  and  the  upright  head-stones  have  been  laid  flat, 
but  the  altar  tombs  have  been  allowed  to  remain  as  they 
were.  There  are  few  trees  in  the  churchyard  to  impede  the 
view  of  the  building ;  those  there  are,  are  as  yet  small,  and 
serve  only  to  pleasantly  break  the  bareness  of  the  ground 
without  hiding  the  architectural  features  of  the  building. 


CHAPTER  III 

THE     INTERIOR 

The  North  Porch,  which  no  doubt  from  the  days  of  its  erection 
in  the  fourteenth  century  has  formed  the  chief  entrance  into 
the  church,  is  opposite  to  the  westernmost  Norman  bay  of  the 
nave  arcading.  The  porch  itself  is  vaulted  in  two  bays,  the 
vaulting  springing  from  slender  shafts  of  Purbeck  marble 
which  rest  on  the  stone  seats  on  either  side  of  the  porch.  The 
bosses  in  which  the  ribs  meet  are  carved  with  foliage.  Over 
the  porch  is  a  small  room  to  which  no  staircase  now  leads ; 
one  which  formerly  led  to  it  was  removed  in  the  seventeenth 
century.  This  room  is  lighted  by  a  small  two-light  Decorated 
window  facing  north. 

The  two  Aisles  are  of  the  same  length  as  the  nave,  and  are 
divided  from  it  by  an  arcading  on  either  side,  each  containing 
six  pointed  arches.  The  easternmost  arches  consist  of  two 
plain  orders,  and  are  much  narrower  than  the  rest.  These 
arches  spring  on  the  east  side  from  brackets  on  the  western 
face  of  the  tower  piers  :  the  bracket  on  the  north  side  is  plain, 
that  on  the  south  side  is  ornamented  with  a  kind  of  scale  carving. 
These  bays  were  probably  of  the  same  date  as  the  tower,  and 
it  is  not  unlikely  that  the  arches  were  at  first  like  those  of  the 
tower,  of  the  usual  round-headed  form.  If  they  were  altered 
when  the  remainder  of  the  nave  was  built,  the  wall  above  was 
not  removed.  The  piers  which  support  the  western  side  of 
these  arches  consist  each  of  a  semi-cylindrical  pillar  set  against 
a  rectangular  pier,  on  the  other  side  of  which  another  semi- 
cylindrical  shaft  is  set  to  support  the  next  arch ;  the  next  two 
pillars  on  each  side  are  cylindrical,  perfectly  plain  in  the  shafts 
with  very  simple  bases  and  capitals.  The  latter  may  be  seen  in 
the  illustrations,  the  former  are  concealed  by  the  pews.  It  will 
be  noticed  as  a  peculiar  feature  that  a  little  piece  of  the  outer 
moulding,  facing  the  nave,  of  the  first  large  arch  on  the  south 
29 


THE  INTERIOR,  LOOKING  EAST. 


THE   INTERIOR 


31 


side  is  differently  carved  from  all  the  rest :  first,  counting  from 
the  bottom  upwards,  are  three  eight-leaved  flowers — these  are 
succeeded  by  three  four-leaved  flowers,  all  on  a  chamfered 
edge ;  above  this  the  moulding  is  not  chamfered,  and  the  outer 
face  is  decorated  with  shallow  zig-zag  carving.     The  second 


PIER   AND   ARCH-SPRING   IN    THE   SOUTH    ARCADE. 


member  of  the  moulding  consists  of  chevron  work  somewhat 
irregularly  carved,  the  projecting  tooth-like  points  not  being 
all  of  the  same  size ;  in  the  centre  is  a  roll  moulding,  from 
each  side  of  which  chevron  ornamentation  projects,  the  points 
directed   outward   perpendicular   to   the   plane   of   the   arch. 


32 


WIMBORNE    MINSTER 


These  pillars  and  arches  are  noteworthy  in  that  the  piers 
are  of  considerable  size,  and  above  them  are  pointed 
arches.      This   would    indicate    a    rather   late    date    in    the 


-"T'',"?S 


DECORATED  ARCH   IN   THE   NAVE. 


Norman  period  for  this  portion  of  the  church  ;  probably  it  was 
built  at  some  time  during  the  last  quarter  of  the  twelfth 
century.     With  the  third  wide  bay  the  twelfth-century  church 


THE    INTERIOR  33 

terminated,  the  two  arches  to  the  west  of  these  being  character- 
ised by  ornamentation  of  the  Decorated  period.     At  this  time, 
as  has  been  aheady  explained  (p.  10),  the  aisles  were  widened 
and  the  inner  edges  of  the  roofs  raised  above  the  clerestory 
windows  of  the  Norman  church.     Four  such  windows,  round- 
headed,  each  placed  over  the  point  of  an  arch,  may  be  seen  on 
either  side  of  the  nave  ;  but  the  eastern  one  on  each  side  differs 
from  the  other  three  in  being  of  heavier  character  and  rougher 
workmanship.     The  external  mouldings  of  these  can  be  well 
seen  from  the  aisles  :  towards  the  nave  they  are  splayed  and 
plain.     The  wall  above  the  fourteenth-century  arches  does  not 
contain  any  windows  on  the  same  level  as  those  of  the  old 
Norman  clerestory ;  but  above  them,  stretching  all  along  each 
side  of  the   nave,  may  be  seen  the  windows  of  the  present 
clerestory.     These  are  Perpendicular  in  style,  and  are  five  in 
number  on  each  side,  each  window  being  placed  over  one  of 
the  piers  of  the  nave  arcading.     These  windows  are  square- 
headed,  and  have  at  the  bottom  three  Hghts,  each  light  being 
sub-divided    into  two   at   the   top.     It   is   believed   that   this 
clerestory   was   formed   when   the   walls   were   raised,   at  the 
same  time  as  the  western  tower  was  erected — namely,  at  the 
end  of  the  fifteenth  century.     But  to  return  to  the  Decorated 
arches  at  the  west  end  of  the  nave.     The  pier  at  the  eastern 
side  of  the  easternmost  of  these  consists  of  the  semi-cylindrical 
respond  of  Norman  date,  a  piece  of  masonry  which  was  part  of 
the  west  wall  of  the  Norman  church ;  and  then  on  the  western 
side  of  this  an  added  semi-cylinder,  on  the  capitals  of  which 
may  be  seen  the  ball-flower  ornament.     The  pier  on  either  side, 
between  the  two  fourteenth-century  arches,  is  octagonal,  with 
a  very  plain  capital  (one  of  these  is  shown  in   the  illustra- 
tion   on    page  57);    the    arches    themselves    are    also    plain, 
consisting  of  two  members  with  chamfered  edges.     The  half 
pillars   at   the   western  side   of  the  western  arch   have  been 
imbedded   in   the   octagonal    buttresses    of   the  west   tower, 
which  project  into  the  church. 

The  height  of  the  nave  roof  appears  to  have  been  altered  on 
several  occasions.  There  may  be  seen  from  the  interior  of 
the  nave,  on  the  west  wall  of  the  lantern  tower,  two  lines 
running  from  the  level  of  the  tops  of  the  Norman  clerestory 
windows  :  these  make  an  angle  of  about  forty-five  degrees  with 
the  horizontal,  and,  no  doubt,  are  traces  of  the  weather  mould- 


34  WIMBORNE    MINSTER 

ings  marking  the  position  of  the  exterior  of  the  roof  of  the  nave 
in  Norman  times.  Probably  the  roof  visible  from  the  interior 
was  flat  and  formed  of  wood,  and  ran  across  in  the  line  of  the 
string  course  above  the  tower  arch,  at  a  level  slightly  above  the 
heads  of  the  clerestory  windows.  A  round-headed  opening 
above  this  string  course  probably  gave  admission  to  the  space 
between  the  outer  and  inner  roofs.  At  a  somewhat  higher  level, 
we  have  a  slight  trace  which  probably  marks  the  junction  of  the 
fifteenth-century  roof  with  the  tower.  This  roof  was  of  oak  and 
very  plain — at  the  restoration  the  pitch  of  the  roof  was  raised 
and  carried  up  to  such  an  extent  as  to  cut  off  the  bases  of  the 
clerestory  windows  of  the  lantern  tower ;  the  inner  roof  itself 
is  of  pitch-pine,  with  hammer-beams  of  the  character  which 
finds  such  favour  with  nineteenth-century  architects. 

The  Central  Tower,  the  oldest  and  probably  most  interest- 
ing part  of  the  church,  consists  of  four  stages,  of  which  the  three 
lower  ones  are  open  to  the  church.  The  lowest  of  these  was 
undoubtedly  part  of  the  original  Norman  church  ;  the  second 
or  triforium  was  soon  added.  Above  this  comes  the  clerestory, 
the  pointed  arch  between  the  round-headed  windows  indicating 
a  somewhat  later  date ;  and  above  this  there  is  a  chamber 
perfectly  plain  within,  and  not  open  to  the  church  below.  The 
outside  of  this  is  decorated  with  an  arcading  of  intersecting 
arches,  which  indicates  a  somewhat  later  date.  These  inter- 
secting arches  form  seven  pointed  arches  on  each  side — five  of 
these  were  originally  open  to  allow  the  sound  of  the  bells,  which 
were  formerly  hung  in  the  tower,  to  pass  out ;  but  to  add 
strength  to  the  walls  all  but  the  middle  ones  on  the  east  face 
were  at  various  periods  walled  up.  At  one  time  the  tower  was 
surmounted  by  a  spire,  possibly  of  wood  covered  with  lead  ; 
this  is  supposed  to  have  been  erected  by  John  de  Berwick,  who 
was  dean  of  the  minster  from  1286  to  131 2.  The  squinches 
which  supported  this  spire  may  still  be  seen  in  the  upper 
stage  just  described.  Descending  from  this  stage  by  a  spiral 
staircase  in  the  north-west  angle,  we  find  ourselves  in  the 
clerestory  already  mentioned.  In  each  face  there  are  two  round- 
headed  windows  widely  splayed  on  the  interior,  with  shafts  in 
the  jambs ;  between  each  pair  of  windows  is  a  pointed  arch, 
in  each  angle  of  the  tower  is  a  slender  shaft  encircled  by  three 
bands  at  about  equidistant  intervals  :  a  passage  cut  in  the 
thickness  of  the  wall  runs  round  this  stage.    Again  descending. 


THE   INTERIOR 


35 


we  reach  the  triforium  level.  Each  of  the  walls  of  this  stage  has 
two  pointed  sustaining  arches  built  into  the  wall  to  support  the 
weight  of  the  superincumbent  masonry  ;  each  of  these  encloses 
four  semi-circular  headed  arches  with  shafts  of  Purbeck  marble. 
The  capitals  of  these  are  rudely  carved,  and  between  the 
relieving  pointed  arches  are  carved  heads,  that  on  the  north 
side  being  the  most  noteworthy.  The  passage  behind  the 
arches  is  very  narrow,  the  total  thickness  of  the  walls  being 


CLERESTORY    STAGE   OF   THE    CENTRAL   TOWER. 


only  4  feet  6  inches.  At  the  centre  of  each  face  are  the 
openings  which  formerly  led  into  the  spaces  between  the  roofs 
and  ceilings  of  the  nave,  transepts,  and  choir  of  the  Norman 
church.  That  on  the  north  side  now  leads  into  a  stone 
gallery,  erected  in  1891  in  the  place  of  a  dilapidated  wooden 
structure,  which  runs  first  westward  to  the  angle  between  the 
tower  and  north  transept,  then  along  the  west  face  of  the 
transept  until  it  reaches  a  door  leading  into  the  stair  turret. 


36 


WIMBORNE   MINSTER 


which  may  be  seen  from  the  exterior.     At  the  bottom  of  this  is 
a  door  opening  into  the  transept.     This  stair  turret  projects 


THE   TOWER  ARCHES. 


slightly  into  the   transept.       The  lowest  stage  of  the   tower 
consists  of  four  arches  and  four  massive  piers.      The  arches 


NORTH   TRANSEPT   AND   CROSSING. 


38  WIMBORNE   MINSTER 

have  two  plain  orders.  The  piers  have  double  shafts  support- 
ing the  central  order,  and  single  shafts  supporting  the  outer 
orders.  The  four  arches  are  not  of  the  same  width,  those  on 
the  east  and  west  being  wider  than  those  on  the  north  and 
south.  In  order  to  get  the  arches  to  spring  from  the  same 
level  and  also  to  reach  the  same  height  at  their  heads,  the 
wider  arches  are  of  the  shape  known  as  "depressed,"  while 
the  narrower  ones  are  of  the  "  horse-shoe  "  type.  The  choir 
being  somewhat  narrower  than  the  nave,  the  walls  on  each 
side  take  the  place  of  the  shaft  which  would  have  supported 
the  outer  order  of  the  eastern  arch.  The  capitals  and  bases  of 
these  arches  are  very  plain,  in  fact  nowhere  in  this  church 
can  the  elaborately-carved  capitals  so  often  met  with  in  late 
Norman  work  be  found.  This  central  tower  was  undoubtedly 
gradually  raised  stage  by  stage,  as  the  character  of  the 
architecture  indicates :  probably  during  each  interval  the 
part  already  finished  was  capped  by  a  pyramidal  roof. 

The  Nave  Aisles  were  widened  in  the  fourteenth  century, 
the  Norman  walls  being  removed  and  their  roofs  raised;  a  single 
stone  of  the  weather  moulding,  which  may  be  seen  on  the  west 
face  of  the  north  transept,  shows  the  height  and  slope  of  the 
roof  of  the  Norman  aisle.  The  windows  of  the  aisles  on 
either  side  are  two-light  Decorated  windows ;  the  three  on 
either  side  to  the  east  of  the  north  and  south  porches  are  of 
the  same  character,  while  the  two  on  each  side  to  the  west  of 
the  porches  are  also  alike  but  differ  in  their  tracery  from  those 
to  the  east.  The  south  porch  is  much  smaller  than  the  north, 
and  is  very  plain ;  it  is  composed  of  two  solid  walls  projecting 
six  feet  from  the  wall  of  the  aisle. 

The  Transepts,  as  has  been  described  in  the  preceding 
chapter,  were  lengthened  in  the  fourteenth  century  —  the 
southern  one  by  the  incorporation  of  some  low  Norman 
building,  thought  by  some  to  have  been  the  Lady  Chapel, 
the  walls  of  which  were  raised ;  the  northern  one  by  the 
addition  of  Bembre's  chantry.  This  has  caused  the  north 
transept  to  be  somewhat  longer  than  the  south.  The  original 
Norman  transepts  seem  to  have  been  of  the  same  length 
on  either  side.  Bembre,  who  died  in  1361,  is  supposed 
to  have  been  buried  here.  A  stone  slab  lay  until  1857  in 
the  centre  of  the  pavement, — on  it  was  a  representation  of  a 
full-length  figure  of  a  man  dressed  in  a  robe  like  a  surplice ; 


THE  INTERIOR 


39 


but  when  the  pavement  was  renewed  this  stone  was  allowed 
to  remain  exposed  to  sun  and  rain  in  the  churchyard  until 
the  surface  was  weathered  to  such  an  extent  that  it  is  now 
impossible  to  make  out  with  any  certainty  what  is  upon  it. 
But  the  description  given  by  Hutchins  of  the  arms  on 
the  shields  which  were 
sculptured  on  it  does 
not  agree  with  theBembre 
arms,  so  that  it  could 
hardly  have  been  the 
tombstone  of  this  Dean 
who  founded  the  chantry. 
The  window  at  the  end 
of  the  north  transept  is 
modern  restoration  work. 
Before  1891  the  tracery 
was  of  a  very  plain  char- 
acter, as  may  be  seen 
from  the  illustration  (page 
21).  It  is  supposed 
that  damage  was  done  to 
this  window  at  the  time 
when  the  tower  fell,  and 
that  the  plain  tracery  was 
inserted  after  that  event. 
During  the  restoration  in 
1891,  the  old  plaster  was 
removed  from  the  walls, 
and  in  doing  this  a  Nor- 
man altar  recess  was  dis- 
covered in  the  east  wall 
of  this  transept ;  the 
southern  end  of  this  had 
been  cut  away  when  the 
choir  aisle  was  widened 
in  the  fourteenth  century. 
In  this  recess  traces  of 
fresco  may  be  seen.  A  piscina  stands  to  the  north  of  this 
altar  recess,  and  is  of  Decorated  character. 

The  South  Transept  has  a  five-light  Decorated  window  at 
its  southern  end,  with  modern  tracery  in  imitation  of  the  old, 


Thirteenth-Century  Piscina  in 
South  Transept.  ■ 


40 


WIMBORNE   MINSTER 


each  light  running  up  through  the  head  of  the  window.  A 
very  fine  Early  English  piscina,  with  the  characteristic  dog- 
tooth moulding,  stands  in  the  south  wall.  An  altar  occupying 
a  position  similar  to   the   one  in  the  north  transept  used   to 


CHOIR   STALLS. 


stand    in    this  transept  also,   but  the  pointed   arch    over  the 
recess  shows  that  it  was  of  later  date. 

The  most  elaborate  part  of  the  church  is  that  which  lies 
to  the  east  of  the  central  tower.  The  great  height  to  which 
the  altar  is  raised  above  the  level  of  the  nave  gives  it  a 
very  impressive   appearance   from  the  west  end;   and,  again, 


42  WIMBORNE    MINSTER 

the  view  looking  westward  from  the  altar  level  is  much 
enhanced  by  the  height  from  which  it  is  seen. 

The  East  End  is  purely  English  work,  and  this  shows  that 
in  the  thirteenth  century  the  church  was  extended  about 
30  feet  towards  the  east.  The  junction  of  the  Early  English 
with  the  Norman  wall  is  marked  by  a  cluster  of  slender 
shafts  rising  from  the  ground.  The  alterations  which  were 
made  in  the  Norman  walls  at  the  time  of  this  eastward 
extension  have  been  already  described  (p.  11). 

It  now  only  remains  to  describe  the  Choir  and  Presbytery 
as  they  stand  at  the  present  time.  Immediately  to  the  east 
of  the  tower  on  either  side  are  two  pointed  arches  of  two 
plain  orders  rising  on  their  western  sides  from  plain  brackets 
in  the  tower  piers,  and  supported  on  the  east  by  engaged 
shafts  with  roughly-carved  Norman  capitals.  Next  to  these 
come  the  Early  English  inserted  arches,  pierced  as  already 
described  through  the  Norman  wall  and  cutting  away  the 
lower  part  of  two  previously  existing  Norman  windows  on 
each  side.  The  arches  are  of  three  plain  orders,  with 
chamfered  edges,  resting  on  clustered  shafts ;  beyond  these 
the  new  thirteenth  -  century  work  begins.  Beyond  the 
clustered  shafts  mentioned  above,  which  mark  the  com- 
mencement of  the  Early  English  work,  is  a  lofty  arch  on 
either  side  opening  into  the  choir  aisles ;  over  each  of  them 
is  a  pair  of  small  lancet  windows  widely  splayed  inside. 
Between  the  piers  of  these  arches  a  wall  is  carried,  its  top 
being  about  midway  between  their  bases  and"  capitals.  On 
the  southern  wall  stands  the  Beaufort  tomb,  on  the  northern 
the  Courtenay  tomb  ;  and  below  this  the  walls  are  pierced 
with  arches,  beneath  which  are  flights  of  nine  steps  leading 
on  to  the  crypt  beneath  the  presbytery.  It  is  not  improbable 
that  after  the  eastern  extension  the  altar  stood  at  the  east 
end  of  the  Norman  part  of  the  choir,  and  that  under  these 
two  Early  English  arches  was  the  ambulatory  or  processional 
passage  which  is  so  often  found  to  the  east  of  the  high  altar. 
Beyond  the  ends  of  the  choir  aisles  on  either  side  of  the 
presbytery  is  a  lancet  window.  The  east  window  is  worthy 
of  the  closest  observation.  Its  exterior  appearance  has  been 
already  described  (p.  24).  Within,  it  consists  of  three  openings 
widely  splayed ;  the  thin  stone  over  the  central  lancet,  beneath 
the  surrounding  moulding,  is  pierced  with  a  quatrefoil  opening ; 


THE   INTERIOR 


43 


over  the  two  side  lancets  the  corresponding  openings  have 
six  foliations ;  between  the  three  lights  and  outside  the  outer 
ones,  flush   with   the   wall,   are  clusters  of  shafts  of  Purbeck 


THE    EAST    WINDOW. 


marble,  from  which  spring  mouldings  enclosing  the  lights 
in  a  most  peculiar  fashion  :  these  follow  the  curves  of  the 
tops  of  the  lancets,  but  before  meeting  they  are  returned  in 
the   form    of  cusps,   and  then  are  carried  round   the  upper 


44 


WIMBORNE   MINSTER 


foliated  openings.  The  upper  part  of  each  of  these  mould- 
ings forms  about  three-quarters  of  the  circumference  of  a 
circle.  The  characteristic  Early  English  dog-tooth  ornament 
is  carved  round  the  moulding  of  the  central  light,  those 
round  the  other  lights  are  not  thus  decorated.  The  whole 
group  is  surrounded  by  a  label  following  the  curves  of 
moulding,  with  carved  heads  at  its  terminations  and  points 
of  junction.  The  six  cusps  of  the  moulding  are  ornamented 
by  bosses  of  carved  foliage. 


SEDILIA. 


To  the  south  side  of  the  presbytery,  between  the  south 
window  and  the  Beaufort  tomb,  the  triple  Sedilia  and  the 
Piscina  are  situated  :  each  of  these  is  covered  by  a  canopy 
of  fourteenth-century  work.  These  were  extensively  repaired 
at  the  time  of  the  restoration.  The  Beaufort  altar  tomb  is 
the  finest  monument  in  the  church.  On  it  are  two  recumbent 
figures  carved  in  alabaster,  and  although  there  is  no  inscrip- 
tion it  is  certain  that  they  represent  John  Beaufort,  Duke  of 


THE   INTERIOR 


45 


Somerset,  and  his  wife  Margaret.  John  Beaufort  was  son 
of  another  John  Beaufort,  Earl  of  Somerset,  who  was  brother 
of  the  celebrated  Cardinal  Beaufort,  and  son  of  John  of 
Gaunt  by  his  mistress  Catherine  Swynford,  a  family  after- 
wards legitimatised  by  Parliament.  This  second  John 
Beaufort  distinguished  himself  in  the  French  wars  of 
Henry  IV.,  who  in  1443  gave  him  a  step  in  the  peerage, 
creating  him  Duke  of  Somerset.  His  wife  Margaret  was, 
when  he  married  her,  widow  of  Oliver  St   John,    and    it    is 


THE    BEAUFORT    TOMB. 


thought  that  after  the  death  of  her  second  husband  in  1444 
she  married  again.  This  John  and  Margaret,  Duke  and 
Duchess  of  Somerset,  are  famous  on  account  of  their  daughter 
the  Lady  Margaret,  so  well-known  for  her  educational  endow- 
ments and  for  the  fact  that  after  her  marriage  with  Edmund 
Tudor,  the  Earl  of  Richmond,  she  became  the  mother  of 
that  Henry  Tudor  who  overthrew  Richard  III.  at  Bosworth, 
and  was  crowned  King  as  Henry  VII.      Here  on  this  altar 


46 


WIMBORNE   MINSTER 


tomb  their  effigies  remain  in  a  wonderful  state  of  preserva- 
tion, their  right  hands  clasped  together,  angels  at  their  heads, 
his  feet  resting  on  a  dog,  hers  on  an  antelope.  He  is  com- 
pletely clad  in  armour,  the  face  and  right  hand  only  bare — the 
gauntleted  left  hand  holds  the  right  hand  gaundet,  which  he 
has  taken  off  that  he  may  hold  the  lady's  hand.  She  is  clad 
in  a  long  close-fitting  garment.  Each  of  the  two  wears  around 
the  neck  a  collar  marked  with  the  letters  SS.  At  the  apex 
of  the  arch  above  their  tomb  hangs  his  tourney  helm. 

Under  the  corresponding  arch  on  the  opposite  side  is  a 
similar  tomb,  but  without  any  effigy.  The  fragmert  of  an  in- 
scription tells  us  that  it  is  the  tomb  of  one  who  was  once  the 
wife  of  Henry  Courtenay,  Marquis  of  Exeter,  and  mother 
of  Edward  Courtenay.  She  was  Gertrude,  daughter  of 
William  Blount,  Lord  Mountjoy.  Her  husband  was  be- 
headed in  1538,  together  with  the  aged  Margaret,  Countess 
of  Salisbury,  whose   chantry  may  be   seen   in  the   Priory  at 

Christchurch,  though  she  was  laid 
to  rest  in  what  Macaulay  describes 
as  the  saddest  burying-ground  in 
England,  the  cemetery  of  St  Peter's, 
in  the  Tower.  Gertrude,  Lady 
Courtenay,  was  herself  attainted  at 
the  time  of  her  husband's  execu- 
tion, but  was  afterwards  pardoned 
and  died  in  1557.  The  tomb  was 
opened  in  the  last  century  from 
idle  curiosity,  and  some  one  at- 
tempted to  raise  the  body  to  a 
sitting  posture,  with  the  result  that 
the  skeleton  fell  to  pieces.  The 
tomb  was  also  damaged  by  this 
foolish  opening. 

Three  small  carved  figures  at 
the  bottom  of  the  hood  moulding 
of  the  arches  over  these  monu- 
ments deserve  attention.  The  one 
on  the  west  side  of  the  southern 
arch  represents  Moses  with  the  tables  of  the  law.  Probably 
there  was  another  such  figure  at  the  eastern  end  of  the  same 
moulding,    but   this   would    have   been   cut   away   when   the 


tn  Mc  LOCO  QviesciTioB^ifS  f ■ 
;-nCLlUDI  SE6'i  VC(T  4W0*v"MM/MtrYRU 

(OftVH  WtAWORl'M       OCiVBVlT 


Brass  of  -I^thelred. 


THE    INTERIOR  47 

sedilia  were  inserted.  The  opposite  arch  has  a  figure  on 
each  side. 

Just  at  the  east  end  of  the  Courtenay  tomb  is  a  slab  of 
Purbeck  marble,  reputed  to  have  once  covered  the  grave  of 
^thelred.  In  it  is  inserted  a  fifteenth-century  brass,  with 
a  rectangular  plate  of  copper  bearing  an  inscription,  repre- 
sented in  the  illustration  (p.  46).  A  brass  plate  with  a  similar  in- 
scription, though  the  date  on  it  is  given  as  872,  was  found 
in  the  library.  Possibly  the  original  brass  and  inscription 
were  taken  up  in  the  time  of  the  civil  wars  and  hidden  for 
safety,  and  the  inscription  having  been  lost,  the  copper  plate 
now  on  the  tomb  was  made  when  the  brass  was  replaced, 
and  the  original  plate  was  afterwards  found  and  was  placed 
for  safety  in  what  is  now  the  library.  Copper  nails  were 
used  to  fasten  the  brass  to  the  floor,  which  perhaps  serves 
to  show  that  the  engraved  copper  plate  was  made  at  the 
time  when  the  brass  was  replaced  on  the  slab.  A  little 
piece  of  the  left-hand  bottom  corner  has  been  broken  off, 
and  the  top  of  the  sceptre  is  missing.  There  are  no  rails 
before  the  altar,  but  their  place  is  supplied  by  three  oak 
benches  covered  with  white  linen  cloths  (these  may  be  seen 
in  the  illustration  on  p.  43).  The  use  of  the  "houseling 
linen  "  dates  back  to  very  early  times.  The  word  "housel" 
for  the  sacrament  of  the  Lord's  Supper  has  gone  out  of  use, 
though  most  of  us  are  familiar  with  the  line 

"  Unhouscled,  unanointed,  unanelled," 

in  which  the  ghost  of  Hamlet's  father  describes  the  circum- 
stances of  his  death.  The  word  "unhouseled"  in  this  means 
that  he  died  without  receiving  the  sacred  elements  before  his 
death. 

The  benches  are  a  relic  of  Puritan  times :  there  is  an 
entry  dated  1656  in  the  churchwardens'  accounts  respect- 
ing the  payment  of  ^i  "  for  making  and  setting  up  the 
benches  about  ye  communion  table  in  the  quire."  These 
were  at  first  used  as  seats,  on  which  the  communicants  sat 
to  receive  the  bread  and  wine.  In  after  times  their  use  was 
modified.  These  benches,  ten  in  number,  were  placed  on 
the  steps  leading  up  to  the  altar,  and  it  was  customary  for 
the  clerk  on  "Sacrament  Sundays"  to  go  to  the  lectern  after 
morning  prayer,  and,  in  a  loud  voice,  give  notice  thus  :    "All  ye 


48  WIMBORNE    MINSTER 

who  are  prepared  to  receive  the  Holy  Communion  draw  near." 
Those  who  wished  to  communicate  then  went  into  the  chancel 
and  sat  on  these  benches  or  in  the  choir  stalls,  waiting  their 
turns,  and  kneeling  on  mats  until  the  clergy  brought  them 
the  bread  and  wine.  Up  to  1852  there  was  a  rail  on  the 
top  step,  at  the  entrance  of  the  presbytery,  on  which  the 
houseling  linen  hung.  The  rail,  which  was  of  no  great 
antiquity,  was  removed  at  that  date,  and  three  of  the  oak 
benches  were  retained  to  supply  its  place ;  these  are  now 
used  as  an  ordinary  communion  rail,  but  are  always  covered 
with  the  "  fair  white  cloths." 

The  South  Choir  Aisle,  known  as  the  Trinity  Aisle,  has 
at  its  east  end  a  five-light  window,  each  light  of  which  runs  up 
through  the  head ;  the  south  wall  is  pierced  by  two  three- 
light  windows  of  similar  character.  The  wall  opposite  in 
the  western  bay,  against  which  the  organ  now  stands,  is  blank, 
as  on  the  outside  of  this  the  vestry  stands  with  the  library 
above  it.  At  the  east  end  of  this  aisle  was  the  chantry 
founded  by  the  Lady  Margaret,  Countess  of  Richmond, 
whose  father  and  mother  lie  in  the  tomb  already  described 
beneath  the  nearest  arch  on  the  north  side  of  this  aisle. 
The  altar  of  this  chantry,  as  well  as  all  the  other  altars  in 
the  church,  numbering  ten  in  all,  have  been  swept  away, 
no  doubt  at  the  time  of  the  Reformation.  But  recently  the 
east  end  of  this  aisle  has  been  fitted  up  with  a  communion 
table  for  use  at  early  services. 

In  this  aisle  is  to  be  seen,  under  the  second  window  from 
the  east,  the  marble  or  slate  painted  sarcophagus  known  as 
the  Etricke  tomb.  Anthony  Etricke  of  Holt  Lodge,  Recorder 
of  Poole,  was  the  magistrate  who  committed  for  trial  the  ill- 
fated  Duke  of  Monmouth,  who,  after  his  flight  from  Sedge- 
moor,  was  captured  in  the  north  of  Dorset  near  Critchell. 
It  is  said  that  in  his  old  age  he  became  very  eccentric,  and 
desired  to  be  buried  neither  in  the  church  nor  out  of  it, 
neither  above  ground  nor  under ;  and  to  carry  out  his  wish 
he  got  permission  to  cut  a  niche  in  the  church  wall,  partly 
below  the  level  of  the  ground  outside,  and  then  firmly  fixed  in 
it  the  slate  receptacle  which  is  now  to  be  seen.  Into  this  he 
ordered  that  his  coffin  should  be  put  when  he  died.  More- 
over, he  had  a  presentiment  that  he  should  die  in  1691,  and 
so  placed  that  date  upon  the  side  of  the  sarcophagus.     He, 


THE   INTERIOR 


49 


however,  lived  twelve  years  longer  than  he  expected,  so  that 
when  his  death  really  occurred  the  date  had  to  be  altered  to 
1703.  The  two  dates,  the  later  written  over  the  earlier,  are 
still  to  be  seen.  On  the  outside  of  the  sarcophagus  arc 
painted  the  arms  of  his  family.  The  whole  is  kept  in  good 
repair,  for  so  determined  was  the  good  man  that  his  memory 
should  be  kept  alive,  and  his  last  resting-place  well  cared  for, 
that  he  gave  to  the  church  in  perpetuity  the  sum  of  20s.  per 
annum,  to  be  expended  in  keeping  the  niche  and  coffin  in 
good  order.  When  the  church  was  restored  in  1857  the  outer 
coffin  was  opened,  and  it  was  found  that  the  inner  one  had 
decayed,  but  that  the  dust  and  bones  were  still  to  be  seen. 


THE   ETRICKE    TOMB. 

these  were  placed  in  a  new  chest  and  once  more  deposited  in 
the  outer  coffin. 

In  this  aisle  is  also  to  be  seen  the  relic  chest,  not  formed  as 
chests  usually  are  of  wooden  planks  or  slabs  fastened  together, 
but  hewn  out  of  a  solid  trunk  of  oak.  The  chest  is  over  6  feet 
long,  but  the  cavity  inside  is  not  more  than  22  inches  in 
length,  9  inches  in  width,  and  6  inches  in  depth,  hence  it  will 
be  seen  how  thick  and  massive  the  walls  are.  Originally  it 
contained  the  relics  of  the  church,  and  probably  is  much  older 
than  the  present  minster  itself.  It  was  afterwards  used  as  a 
safe  for  deeds.  In  1735  some  deeds  were  taken  from  it  bearing 
the  date  1200. 

Formerly,  there  stood  on  this  aisle  the  tomb   of  John   de 

D 


5° 


WIMBORNE   MINSTER 


Berwick,  dean  of  the  college,  who  died  in  13 12.  At  his  tomb 
once  a  year  the  parishioners  met  to  receive  the  accounts  of  the 
outgoing  churchwardens  and  to  elect  new  ones.  The  altar 
tomb  was  removed  about  1790,  the  slab  at  the  top  of  it  being 
let  into  the  floor. 

The  North  Choir  Aisle  is  a  foot  narrower  than  the  corre- 
sponding south  aisle  :  it  has  three  windows  each  with  two  lights 
instead  of  two]  of  three  lights.  This  is  known  as  St  George's 
aisle.  In  the  east  wall  is  a  piscina  of  Perpendicular  date. 
Two  doors  lead  into  this  aisle — one  at  the  corner,  where  the 


RELIC    CHEST. 

walls  of  the  aisle  and  transept  meet,  and  one  between  the  two 
easternmost  windows.  The  principal  objects  in  this  aisle  are 
two  bulky  chests,  one  containing  the  title-deeds  of  some  charity 
lands  in  the  parish  of  Corfe  Castle.  This  is  fastened  by  six 
locks,  each  of  different  pattern, — each  trustee  of  the  charity 
has  a  key,  of  his  own  special  lock, — so  that  the  chest  can  only 
be  opened  by  the  consent  of  the  whole  body.  The  other  chest 
contains  the  parochial  accounts ;  this  once  had  six  locks,  but 
now  has  only  two. 

In   the  south-eastern  corner  of  this  aisle  lies  a  mutilated 


THE   INTERIOR 


51 


effigy  of  a  mail-clad  knight  with  crossed  legs.  This  is  said  to 
have  been  removed  to  the  minster  from  another  church  when 
it  was  destroyed.  Whom  it  represents  is  uncertain,  but  tradi- 
tionally it  is  known  as  the  Fitz  Piers  monument. 


UVEDALE    MONUMENT. 


In  this  aisle  is  the  monument  of  Sir  Edmund  Uvedale,  who 
died  in  1606.  The  monument  was  erected  by  his  widow  in 
"dolefull  duety."  It  is  in  the  Renaissance  style,  and  was 
carved  by  an  Italian  sculptor.     The  old  knight  is  represented 


52  WIMBORNE   MINSTER 

clad  in  a  complete  suit  of  plate  armour,  though  without  a 
helmet.  He  lies  on  his  right  side,  his  head  is  raised  a  little 
from  his  right  hand,  on  which  it  has  been  resting,  as  though 
he  were  just  awaking  from  his  long  sleep,  his  left  hand  holds 
his  gauntlet.  Above  the  tomb  hangs  an  iron  helmet,  such  as 
was  worn  in  Elizabethan  times,  and  which  very  probably  was 
once  worn  by  Sir  Edmund  himself. 

Between  the  eastern  ends  of  the  choir  aisles,  and  beneath 
the  eastern  end  of  the  presbytery,  is  the  Crypt.  This  is  a 
vaulted  chamber,  the  vaulting  being  supported  on  two  pairs  of 
pillars,  thus  forming  three  aisles,  as  it  were,  running  east  and 
west,  each  containing  three  bays.  The  western  bay  is  of 
somewhat  later  date  than  the  central  and  eastern ;  the  wall 
against  which  the  westernmost  of  the  pillars  once  stood  was 
removed,  but  the  piers  were  allowed  to  remain,  backed  up  by 
a  new  piece  of  masonry  built  against  them  to  support  the 
new  vaulting.  The  crypt  is  lighted  by  four  windows,  equal- 
sided  spherical  triangles  in  shape ;  two  look  out  eastward, 
one  northward  beyond  the  chancel  arch,  one,  correspondingly 
placed,  to  the  southward.  The  centre  of  the  east  end  is  a 
blank  wall.  Against  this  the  altar  stood  —  a  niche,  probably 
a  piscina,  still  may  be  seen.  On  each  side  of  the  place 
where  the  altar  stood  there  are  two  openings  into  the  choir 
aisles.  The  exteriors  of  these  are  of  the  same  form  and 
size  as  the  crypt  windows,  but  they  are  deeply  splayed  inside, 
and  probably  were  used  as  hagioscopes  or  squints,  to  allow 
those  kneeling  in  the  choir  aisles  to  see  the  priest  celebrating 
mass  at  the  crypt  altar. 

The  Vestry  stands  in  the  south-east  angle  between  the 
transept  and  choir  aisle ;  it  is  a  vaulted  building  dating  from 
the  fourteenth  century,  and  is  hghted  by  two  windows,  one 
looking  to  the  east,  the  other  to  the  south.  A  small  door  at 
the  south-west  corner  opens  upon  the  staircase  leading  to  the 
Library — a  chamber  situated  above  the  vestry.  The  collection 
consists  chiefly  of  books  left  to  the  minster  by  will  of  the  Rev. 
William  Stone,  Principal  of  New  Inn  Hall,  Oxford,  a  native 
of  Wimborne.  They  were  brought  from  Oxford  in  1686,  under 
the  care  of  the  Rev.  Richard  Lloyd,  at  that  time  Master  of  the 
Grammar  School  at  Wimborne.  The  books  are  chiefly  works 
on  divinity ;  some  additions  were  subsequently  and  at  various 
times  made  to  the  original  collection.    The  books  were  attached 


"% 


ENTRANCE   TO   CRVPT. 


54 


WIMBORNE   MINSTER 


to  the  shelves  for  safety's  sake  by  iron  chains,  the  upper  end 
carrying  rings  which  slid  on  rods  fastened  to  the  shelf  above, 
the  other  end  to  the  edge  of  the  binding  of  the  books.  Hence 
the  volumes  had  to  be  placed  on  the  shelves  with  their  backs 
to  the  walls.  The  room  in  which  the  books  were  placed  was 
formerly  known  as  the  Treasury;  it  was  refitted  in  1857,  but 
the  old  chains  are  still  used.  It  would  occupy  too  much  space 
were  any  attempt  made  to  give  a  list  of  the  books.  The  oldest 
volume    is   a    manuscript    of    1343,    "Regimen    Animarum," 


THE   LIBRARY. 


written  on  vellum,  and  containing  a  few  illuminated  initials. 
A  "Breeches,"  Black-Letter  Bible,  dated  1595,  is  another  book 
worth  mentioning;  also  a  volume  of  Sir  Walter  Raleigh's 
History  of  the  World.  A  hole  was  burnt  through  104  of  its 
pages.  It  is  said  that  Matthew  Prior,  the  poet,  was  reading  it 
by  candle  light  and  fell  asleep,  and  when  he  woke  was  much 
distressed  to  find  that  the  snuff  from  his  candle  had  done  the 
mischief     He  did  his  best  to  repair  the  damage,  by  placing  a 


THE  CRVPT. 


56 


WIMBORNE    MINSTER 


tiny  piece  of  paper  over  the  hole  in  each  page,  and  inserting 
the  missing  letters  with  pen  and  ink.  The  book  has  since  been 
rebound,  leaves  taken  from  another  copy  having  been  bound  in 
between  the  damaged  pages. 


THE    FONT. 


The  lower  part  of  the  west  tower  is  used  as  a  baptistery ; 
this  is  separated  from  the  nave  by  a  screen,  formed  of 
fragments  of  the  old  rood  screen.  In  the  centre  stands  the 
octagonal  late  Norman  Font,  supported  by  eight  slender  shafts 
of   Purbeck    marble,   and   a    modern    spirally-carved    central 


THE    INTERIOR 


57 


pillar  of  white  stone,  through  which  runs  the  drain  to  carry 
off  the  water. 

In  the  inner  southern  wall  of  this  tower,  rather  low  down, 
is  fixed  a  curious  old  Clock  made  by  Peter  Lightfoot,  a 
Glastonbury  monk,  in  the  early  part  of  the  fourteenth 
century.  The  earth  is  represented  by  a  globe  in  the  centre, 
the  sun  by  a  disc  which  travels  round  it  once  in  twenty-four 


THE   CLOCK    IN    THE    WEST    TOWER. 


hours,  showing  the  time  of  day ;  the  moon  by  a  globe  so 
fastened  to  a  blue  disc  that  it  revolves  once  during  a  lunar 
month  ;  half  of  this  is  painted  black,  the  other  half  is  gilt, 
and  the  age  of  the  moon  is  indicated  by  the  amount  of 
the  gilded  portion  visible^when  the  moon  is  full  the  whole 
of  the  gilt  hemisphere  is  shown,  when  new  the  whole  of  the 
black.     This   clock    still   goes,    the   works   being   in  a  room 


58  WIMBORNE   MINSTER 

in  the  tower  above.  It  requires  winding  once  a  day.  The 
same  clock  also  causes  the  Jack  outside  the  tower  to  strike 
the  quarters. 

In  the  Belfry  is  a  peal  of  eight  bells.  The  tenor  weighs 
about  36  cwts.,  the  treble  7  cwts. 

The  tenor  bears  this  inscription  : 

Mr  Wilhemus  Loringe  me  primo  fecit, 
in  honorem  stje  cutbergie. 

RENOVABAR    SUMPTU    PAROCHALI    PER    AH, 
ANNO   DOMINI    1629. 

The  seventh  bell  is  dated  1798. 

The  sixth  bell  1600,  and  is  thus  inscribed:  "Sound  out 
THE  Bells,  in  God  rkgovce." 

The  fifth  1698,  "Praise  the  Lord." 

The  fourth  1686,  "Pulsata  rosamundi  maria  vocata. 
SMV." 

The  third  was  originally  the  smallest  bell  of  the  peal,  and 
bears  the  Latin  hexameter:  "Sum  minima  hic  campana,  at 
inest,  sua  gratia  parvis,"  and  the  words,  "  This  Bell  was 
ADDED  to  ye  FIVE  IN  1 686,  Samucl  Knight."  The  two 
smaller  bells  are  of  recent  date. 

The  Lectern  bears  date  1623.  The  stone  pulpit  is  modern 
(1868).  The  old  wooden  pulpit,  whose  place  it  has  taken, 
has  been  removed  to  the  church  at  Holt. 

The  earliest  mention  of  an  Organ  is  in  1405,  but  the 
earliest  authentic  record  is  of  one  set  up  by  John  Vaucks, 
Organ  Master,  in  1533.  A  memorandum  in  the  church- 
wardens' accounts  speak  of  him  setting  up  a  pair  of  organs 
on  the  rood  loft.  In  the  year  1643,  we  have  records  of  the 
sale  of  organ-pipes  and  old  tin.  After  the  Restoration  in 
1664,  we  have  a  record  of  the  purchase  of  a  new  organ  for 
p^iSo.  This  was  repaired,  enlarged,  and  rebuilt  at  various 
times,  and  at  the  restoration,  when  the  rood  screen  was  unfor- 
tunately destroyed,  the  organ  was  placed  in  the  south  choir 
aisle. 

All  the  lower  windows  are  now  filled  with  painted  glass ; 
all  of  which,  with  the  exception  of  a  few  fragments,  is  nine- 
teenth-century work. 


THE   INTERIOR 


59 


DEANS    OF    WIMBORNE 


Martin  Pattislee  or  PattishuU 

Ralph  Brilo 

John  Mansell 

John  de  Kirkby  . 

John  de  Berwick 

Stephen  de  Mawley 

Richard  de  Clare 

Richard  de  Svvinnerton 

Richard  de  Merimoulh 

Richard  de  Kingston 

Thomas  de  Clopton 

Reginald  de  Bryan 

Thomas  de  Bembre  (founder  of 

Henry  de  Buckingham 

Richard  de  Beverley 

John  de  Carp 

Roger  Tortington 

Peter  de  Altebello 

Walter  Medford 

Gilbert  Kymer    . 

Walter  llerte      . 

Hugh  Oldham    . 

Thomas  Row  thel 

Henry  Hornby   . 

Reginald  Pole     . 

Nicholas  Wilson 


the  chantry) 


appointed 


.224 

229 

247 

=65 

286 

[312 

[312 

[334 

1342 
[349 
[349 
[350 
.361 

[367 
[398 
1408 
1412 
[416 
1427 
1467 
1485 
1508 

1509 
[517 

[537 


College  dissolved 


1547 


CHAPTER    IV 

ST  Margaret's  hospital 

About  a  quarter  of  a  mile  to  the  north-west  of  Wimborne 
stands  the  chapel  of  St  Margaret's  Hospital.  The  date  of 
the  foundation  of  this  hos[)ital  is  uncertain  ;  tradition  has  it 
that  it  was  founded  by  John  of  Gaunt,  son  of  Edward  III., 
but  this  is  without  doubt  wrong,  as  documents — the  char- 
acter of  which  seem  to  indicate  an  early  thirteenth-century 
date  —  have  been  found,  from  which  it  appears  that  this 
hospital  existed  at  that  time,  and  was  set  apart  for  the  relief 
and  support  of  poor  persons  afflicted  with  leprosy.  This 
disease  was  at  one  time  so  common  in  England  that  a 
great  number  of  lazar-houses  were  erected  in  the  country, 
and  many  were  well  endowed ;  but  when,  after  a  time,  the 
disease  became  less  violent,  many  abuses  crept  in,  persons 
not  really  suffering  from  the  disease  pretended  to  be  lepers 
in  order  to  get  pecuniary  benefits,  and  hence  in  many  cases 
the  leper  hospitals  were  suppressed,  or  converted  to  other 
purposes.  At  the  present  day  we  find  in  many  places,  as 
here  at  Wimborne,  that  they  are  used  as  almshouses. 

This  hospital,  however,  was  not  one  of  the  well-endowed. 
It  appears  from  a  deed,  dated  in  the  sixteenth  year  of 
Henry  VIII.,  that  the  hospital  was  chiefly  maintained,  not 
by  endowments,  but  by  the  gifts  of  the  charitable  who 
were  willing  to  contribute  to  its  support ;  and  to  encourage 
the  benevolent  to  give,  the  deed  recites  that  "  Pope  Innocent 
IV.,  in  the  year  1245,  by  an  indulgans  or  bulle  did  assoyl 
them  of  all  syns  forgotten,  and  offences  done  against  fader 
and  moder,  and  all  swerynges  neglygently  made.  This 
indulgans,  grantyd  of  Petyr  and  Powle,  and  of  the  said 
pope,  was  to  hold  good  for  51  yeres  and  260  days,  pro- 
vided they  repeated  a  certain  specified  number  of  Paternosters 
and  Ave  Marias  daily."  The  date  of  this  indulgence  proves 
the  antiquity  of  the  hospital,  as  it  shows  that  it  was  in 
existence   before   the   middle  of  the  thirteenth  century.      A 

60 


62  WIMBORNE   MINSTER 

chantry  was  also  founded  in  the  chapel  here  by  John 
Redcbddes  of  one  priest  to  say  masses  for  his  soul.  To 
this  chkntry,  according  to  a  deed  dated  in  the  sixteenth  year 
of  Henry  VI.,  many  tenements  in  Wimborne  belonged.  In 
later  times  the  Rev.  William  Stone,  who  has  been  mentioned 
before  as  the  founder  of  the  Minster  Library,  by  his  will 
left  his  lands  and  tenements  in  the  parish  of  Wimborne 
Minster  to  be  applied  to  the  benefit  of  almsmen  only  who 
should  live  in  St  Margaret's  Hospital. 

There  is  a  further  endowment,  but  how  it  came  to  this 
hospital  has  not  been  discovered.  The  advowson  and  tithes 
of  the  Rectory  of  Poole  were,  in  the  reign  of  James  I.,  granted 
to  the  Mayor  and  Corporation  of  Poole  for  forty  years,  on 
the  corporation  undertaking  to  find  a  curate  to  discharge 
the  duties  lately  discharged  by  the  vicar,  and  to  pay  a  rent 
to  the  crown  of  ^12,  i6s.  per  annum.  In  the  reign  of 
Charles  I.,  the  advowson  and  tithes  were  granted  to  two  men, 
Thomas  Ashton  and  Henry  Harryman,  and  their  heirs  for 
ever,  on  the  same  conditions ;  but  they  are  now  again  held 
by  the  Corporation,  who  pay  out  of  the  revenues  —  to 
St  Margaret's  hospital  jQ()^  i6s. ;  to  the  churchwardens  of 
Wimborne  Minster,  for  the  maintenance  of  the  Etricke  tomb, 
^i  ;  and  to  the  fellows  of  Queen's  College,  Oxford,  to  be 
spent  in  wine  and  tobacco  on  November  5th,  yearly  ^2. 

The  Redcotte  chantry  possessed  sundry  vestments,  the  gift 
of  Margaret  Rempstone,  in  the  thirty-fifth  year  of  Henry  VI., 
and  plate,  an  inventory  of  which  exists.  This  plate,  on  the 
dissolution  of  chantries,  was  given  by  the  parishioners  to 
the  king,  Edward  VI.  The  hospital  or  almshouses  stands 
on  the  high  road  from  Wimborne  to  Blandford  ;  the  chapel 
joins  one  of  the  tenements  occupied  by  the  almsmen.  These 
tenements  are  nine  in  number ;  three  are  inhabited  by  married 
couples,  three  by  men,  and  three  by  women.  Some  of  these 
cottages  are  of  half  timber,  and  thatched,  others  of  modern 
brick.  The  chapel,  at  which  there  is  now  a  service  every 
Thursday  afternoon,  conducted  by  one  of  the  minster  clergy, 
is  a  plain  building,  which  has  been  recently  refitted,  but  re- 
mains, as  far  as  windows  and  walls  are  concerned,  in  its 
original  state.  There  are  three  doors  in  the  north  wall ; 
the  heads  are  pointed,  and  it  is  noteworthy  that  in  the 
central  door,  that   generally  used   for  access  to  the  chapel, 


ST   MARGARET'S    HOSPITAL 


63 


the  two  sides  of  the  arch  are  of  different  curvatures,  so  that 
the  point  of  the  arch  is  nearer  to  the  right-hand  side.  The 
edge  of  the  wall  is  chamfered  round  the  doorways.  The 
east  window  has  a  semicircular  head,  and  plain  wooden  tracery 
dividing  it  into  two  lancet-headed  lights  with  an  opening 
above  them.  There  is  a  window  in  both  the  south  and  north 
walls,  near  the  east  end,  each  of  two  lights ;  the  south  window 
is  widely  splayed  inside ;  the  head  of  each  light  has  one 
cusp  on  each  side.  The  head  of  each  light  of  the  north 
window  has  two  cusps  on  each  side.  Farther  to  the  west,  on 
the  south  side,  is  a  single  narrow  lancet,  widely  splayed,  and 
still  farther  to  the  west  is  a  semicircular  opening  with  wooden 
tracery.  The  general  character  of  the  masonry  would  indicate 
that  local  workmen  were  employed  in  building  this  chapel, 
and  that  little  was  spent  in  ornamenting  it  at  the  time  of 
the  erection.  There  are,  however,  some  traces  of  frescoes 
on  the  inside  of  the  walls,  both  geometrical  patterns  and 
figures.  The  pointed  doorways  and  the  lancet  window  on 
the  south  side  would  indicate  the  thirteenth  century  as 
the  date  of  the  original  building,  and  this  agrees  with  the 
documentary  evidence  mentioned  above  for  the  foundation 
of  the  hospital.  The  roof  is  an  open  one  of  massive 
wooden  rafters,  with  the  beams  running  across  at  the  level 
of  the  wall  plates. 

DIMEN.SIONS 


Extreme  length,  exterior,  I',  to  W. 

Extreme  width,  exterior,  N.  to  S. 

Length  of  Nave,  interior 

Width  of  Nave,  interior 

Height  of  Walls 

Length  of  Nave  Aisles,  interior 

Width  of  Nave  Aisles,  interior 

Length  of  North  Transept,  interior 

Width  of  North  Transept,  interior 

Height  of  Walls,  interior 

Length  of  South  Transept,  interior 

Width  of  South  Transept,  interior 

Height  of  Walls 

Length  of  Choir,  interior 

Width  of  Choir,  interior 

Height  of  Choir  Walls 

Length  of  Presbytery    . 

Width  of  Presbytery 


198  feet 
102 
67 

23 
40 
70 

13 

42 
18 

30 
33 
18 

30 
32 
21 

28 

30 
21 


64 


WIMBORNE   MINSTER 


interior 


Length  of  North  Choir  Aisle     . 

Width  of  North  Choir  Aisle      . 

Length  of  South  Choir  Aisle     . 

Width  of  South  Choir  Aisle 

Length  of  Side  of  Central  Tower  (square), 

Height  of  Central  Tower  .  .  • 

Length  of  Side  of  Western  Tower  (square),  exterior 

Height  of  Western  Tower 

Length  of  North  Porch,  N.  and  S.,  interior      . 

Width  of  North  Porch,  E.  and  W.,  interior      . 

Length  of  South  Porch,  N.  and  E.,  interior     . 

Width  of  South  Porch,  E.  and  W.,  interior      . 

Length  of  Vestry,  N.  and  S.,  interior  . 

Wid\h  of  Vestry,  E.  and  W.,  interior  . 

Length  of  Baptistery,  E.  to  W.,  interior 

Width  of  Baptistery,  N.  to  S.,  interior 

Area    ....•• 


53  feet 

21  „ 

53  .. 

20  ,, 

31  >. 

84  „ 

31  -> 

95  >' 

15  » 

14  >> 

6  „ 

7  ,, 

15  .. 
14  „ 

18  „ 

19  „ 
10,725  sq.  feet. 


CHRISTCHURCH    PRIORY 


E 


o 

Q 

2 

a 

a 
X 

o 

p; 
fa 

> 

o 

S 

u 

a 
o 

H 

C/3 

t^ 

Pi 

u 


CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

CHAPTER  I 

HISTORY    OF    THE    BUILDING 

On  the  promontory  washed  on  the  one  side  by  the  slow 
stream  of  the  Dorset  Stour,  and  on  the  other  by  the  no  less 
sluggish  flow  of  the  Wiltshire  Avon,  not  far  from  the  place 
where  they  mingle  their  waters  before  making  their  way  amid 
mudflats  and  sandbanks  into  the  English  Channel,  stands, 
and  has  stood  for  more  than  eight  hundred  years,  the  stately 
Priory  Church  which  gives  the  name  of  Christchurch  to  a 
small  town  in  the  county  of  Hants.  The  massive  walls  of 
its  Norman  nave,  its  fifteenth-century  tower,  and  its  great 
length — for,  from  the  east  wall  of  its  Lady  Chapel  to  the  west 
wall  of  its  tower,  it  measures  no  less  than  311  feet — make 
it  a  conspicuous  object  from  the  Channel,  especially  after 
sundown,  when  its  form,  rising  above  the  low  shore  of 
Christchurch  Bay,  is  silhouetted  against  the  sky.  It  is  one 
of  the  finest  churches  below  cathedral  rank  that  is  to  be 
found  in  England.  It  is  a  perfect  mine  of  wealth  to  the 
student  of  architecture,  containing  examples  of  every  style 
from  its  early,  possibly  Saxon,  crypt  to  the  Renaissance  of 
its  chantries.  Here  we  may  see  the  solid  grandeur  of 
Norman  masonry  in  the  nave,  with  its  massive  arcading  and 
richly-wrought  triforium ;  the  graceful  beauty  of  the  Early 
English  in  its  north  porch  and  in  the  windows  of  the  north 
aisle  of  the  nave ;  the  more  fully  developed  Decorated  in  the 
windows  of  the  south  aisle  of  the  same ;  and  Perpendicular 
in  the  tower  and  Lady  Chapel. 

The  crypts  beneath  the  north  transept  and  the  presby- 
tery may  have  belonged  to  the  original  church,  but  of  that 
which  is  visible  above  ground  the  oldest  part  was  due 
to  Flambard,  of  whom  more  hereafter.  When  the  first 
church  was  founded  we  cannot  tell.  Here,  as  in  many  other 
places,    the   origin    is    lost    in    the    haze    of    antiquity    and 

67 


68  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

legend.  Here,  as  at  many  other  places,  we  find  the  original 
builders  choosing  one  site,  and  the  stones  that  they  had 
laid  during  the  day  being  removed  by  night  by  unseen,  and 
therefore  angelic,  hands  to  another.  It  was  on  the  heights 
of  St  Catharine,  about  a  mile  and  a  half  away  from  the 
present  site,  that  the  human  builders  strove  to  raise  their 
church.  It  may  be  that  this  hill,  still  marked  by  the  ramparts 
of  an  ancient  encampment,  was  not  holy  ground  on  account 
of  its  former  occupation  by  heathens,  though  in  after  time, 
a  chapel,  built  in  the  early  part  of  the  fourteenth  century, 
existed  there ;  but,  anyhow,  not  on  this  hill,  but  on  the  flat 
lands  of  Saxon  Tweoxneham,  a  name  which  passed  into  the 
forms  of  Thuinam  and  Twynham,  that  the  great  Priory 
Church  was  destined  to  stand.  But  not  even  when  the 
human  builders  began  to  erect  the  church  on  the  miraculously 
chosen  ground  did  supernatural  interposition  cease.  A  stranger 
workman  came  and  laboured  at  the  building  :  never  was  he 
seen  to  eat  as  the  other  workmen  did,  never  did  he  come 
with  his  fellows  to  receive  his  wages.  Once,  when  a  beam  had 
been  cut  too  short  for  the  place  it  was  to  occupy,  he  lengthened 
it  by  drawing  it  out  with  his  hand ;  and  when  the  day  for 
consecration  came,  and  the  other  workmen  gathered  together 
to  see  their  work  hallowed  by  due  ceremonial,  this  stranger 
workman  was  nowhere  to  be  seen.  The  ecclesiastics  came 
to  the  conclusion  that  this  was  none  other  than  the  carpenter's 
son  of  Nazareth,  and  the  church  which  had  in  part  been 
builded  by  the  hands  of  the  Christ  Himself  was  fitly  dedi- 
cated to  Christ,  and  it  still  bears  the  name  of  Christchurch. 

But,  if  we  disregard  these  legends,  we  do  not  at  once 
find  ourselves  on  sure  and  certain  ground.  The  foundation 
has  been  attributed  to  ^thelstan,  but  this  is  hardly  likely,  as, 
in  a  charter  dated  939,  he  gives  one  of  the  weirs  on  the  Avon 
at  Twynham  to  the  Abbey  Church  of  Middleton,  now  Milton 
Abbey  in  North  Dorset,  which  he  would  be  hardly  likely  to 
do  if  he  had  founded,  or  were  thinking  of  founding,  a  religious 
house  at  Twynham  ;  and  as  he  died  in  940,  not  much  time 
was  left  for  any  foundation  after  this  grant.  Again,  we  find 
King  Eadred  granting  land  and  fishing  near  Twineham  to 
Dunstan.  However,  in  the  time  of  the  Confessor,  mention 
is  made  of  the  canons  of  Holy  Trinity  possessing  lands  in 
Thuinam.     It  must  be  remembered  that  it  had  been  intended, 


HISTORY   OF  THE   BUILDING  69 

according  to  the  legend,  to  dedicate  the  church  to  the  Holy 
Trinity,  and  no  doubt  this  was  done,  although  it  was  also 
specially  dedicated  to  the  second  Person.  In  Domesday  the 
double  name  occurs.  The  canons  of  the  Holy  Trinity  of 
Christchurch  are  said  to  hold  lands  in  the  village,  and  also 
in  the  Isle  of  Wight  opposite.  Certain  it  is  that  in  the  days 
of  Eadward  the  Confessor  there  was  a  church  at  Twynham 
dedicated  to  the  Holy  Trinity,  held  by  a  dean  and  a  college 
of  secular  canons.  This  church  was  swept  away  by  Ranulf 
Flambard,  the  notorious  justiciar  and  chaplain  of  William 
II.,  whose  evil  deeds,  contrary  to  the  oft-quoted  passage  from 
Mark  Antony's  speech  in  Julius  Ctesar,  are  now  generally 
forgotten  ;  while  the  good  deeds  that  he  wrought, — the  nave 
of  this  church,  and  the  still  grander  nave  of  Durham  Cathedral 
Church,  Durham  Castle,  "Norham's  castled  steep,"  and 
Kepier  Hospital,  built  while  he  held  the  most  important 
diocese  in  the  North  of  England, — live  after  him,  and  have 
shed  a  glory  on  his  name.  Evil  he  was  in  moral  character 
without  doubt,  but  a  glorious  builder  nevertheless.  Though 
he  oppressed  the  clergy,  though  it  was  through  his  instru- 
mentality and  by  his  advice  that  sees  were  kept  vacant  for 
years,  and  when  filled,  only  given  to  those  who  were  able 
and  willing  to  pay  large  sums  to  the  king,  yet  it  is  rather 
as  a  great  architect  than  as  an  ecclesiastic  that  we,  who  gaze 
with  delight  and  admiration  on  his  work  that  has  come  down 
to  us,  will  regard  him.  It  is  said  that,  as  his  end  drew  nigh, 
he  realised  the  amount  of  evil  he  had  done,  and  strove  to 
make  his  peace  with  heaven  and  restitution  to  some,  at  least, 
of  those  whom  he  had  wronged.  He  died  in  11 28,  and  his 
body  rests  in  the  great  Cathedral  Church  of  St  Cuthbert 
that  he  had  done  so  much  to  raise.  But  it  was  in  the 
earlier  part  of  his  career,  before  he  received  the  bishopric 
of  Durham  in  1099,  that  he  probably  began  the  work 
at  Christchurch  with  which  we  are  at  present  concerned.* 
He  was  succeeded  by  Godric  in  1099,  who  is  called  Senior 
and  Patron  and  afterwards  Dean ;  but  Flambard  seems  still 

*  Sir  Gilbert  Scott,  however,  thought  that  the  Norman  nave  of  the 
Cathedral  Church  at  Durham  was  commenced  before  Flambard  became 
bishop,  and  that  the  new  church  at  Christchurch  was  begun  after  that 
date,  so  that  the  work  at  Christchurch  was  copied  by  him  from  what  he 
found  already  commenced  at  Durham  when  he  went  there. 


^o  CHRISTCHURCH    PRIORY 

to  have  exercised  some  authority  over  him,  illegal  probably, 
but  none  the  less  real.  We  find  him  granting  to  Godric,  for 
the  work  of  building,  all  the  offerings  made  by  strangers  and 
pilgrims,  and  when  a  canon  died  his  share  of  the  revenues 
of  the  college  was  devoted  to  the  same  object,  the  vacancy 
not  being  filled  up  by  the  appointment  of  any  new  canon. 
Godric  died  after  having  been  dean  for  a  short  time  only, 
whereupon  Henry  I.  appointed  Gilbert  de  Dousgunels  dean, 
having  appropriated  to  himself  the  accumulated  fabric  fund. 
Henry  I.  granted  the  patronage  of  the  church  to  Richard  de 
Redvers,  Earl  of  Devon,  who  appointed  his  chaplain,  Peter, 
a  Norman  of  Caen,  dean.  This  dean  seems  to  have  diverted 
the  funds  from  the  work  of  completing  the  church,  but  his 
successor,  Randulphus,  carried  on  the  work  again,  so  that 
in  his  time  the  church  and  the  conventual  buildings  were 
roofed  in.  In  the  time  of  Hilary,  in  the  year  1150,  the 
secular  college  of  canons  was  converted  into  a  Priory  of 
Augustinian  Canons.  This  change  was  made  with  the  consent 
of  Baldwin  de  Redvers,  in  accordance  with  the  wishes  of 
Henry  of  Blois,  brother  of  King  Stephen,  and  at  that  time 
Bishop  of  Winchester,  who  is  well  known  from  the  fact  of 
his  founding  the  Hospital  of  St  Cross,  near  Winchester. 
Hilary,  two  years  before  this  change  was  made,  had  been 
consecrated  Bishop  of  Chichester,  and  subsequently  became 
one  of  the  episcopal  opponents  of  Thomas  Becket.  Hence- 
forth, until  the  dissolution  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII.,  the 
head  of  the  religious  community  at  Christchurch  was  a  prior, 
who  was,  according  to  a  charter  granted  by  Richard  de  Red- 
vers in  1 1 60,  elected  by  the  canons.  There  were,  in  all, 
twenty-six  priors,  and  their  names  have  come  down  to  us, 
but  with  only  the  most  meagre  notices  of  the  architectural 
work  which  was  carried  on  by  each  of  them.  Extensive, 
however,  it  must  have  been  ;  and  from  what  we  see  of  the 
church  itself,  it  would  seem  as  if  building  operations  must 
have  been  almost  constantly  in  progress. 

In  all  probability  there  was,  according  to  the  usual  plan  of 
Norman  churches,  a  tower  at  the  junction  of  the  nave  and 
transepts,  and  beyond  this  an  apsidal  choir.  But  there  is  no 
documentary  record  of  such  a  tower  ever  having  been  built  or 
fallen,  although  its  existence  is  rendered  probable  by  a  carving 
of  a  church  with  tower  and   spire  on  Draper's  chantry,  and  by 


HISTORY   OF  THE   BUILDING  71 

a  similar  representation  on  a  seal,  and  in  two  other  parts  of 
the  building.  It  is  probable  that  the  original  choir  extended 
westward  beyond  the  transept,  as  at  Westminster  to  the 
present  day. 

As  has  been  stated  above,  the  Norman  church  was  com- 
menced by  Flambard  towards  the  end  of  the  eleventh  century ; 
and  of  the  work  so  begun,  the  earliest  existing  remains  are  the 
arcading  of  the  nave,  the  triforium,  and  the  transepts  with  the 
eastern  apsidal  chapel  attached  to  the  south  transept.  Next  to 
this  in  order  came  the  walls  of  the  aisles  of  the  nave,  and  the 
cloisters  and  chapter-house,  which,  however,  have  disappeared ; 
cloisters  would  come  to  be  considered  a  necessity  as  soon  as 
the  secular  canons  were  superseded  by  regulars.  The  early 
English  clerestory  of  the  nave  seems  to  have  been  built  in  the 
time  of  the  third  prior,  Peter,  about  the  beginning  of  the 
thirteenth  century.  To  the  end  of  same  century  may  be 
approximately  assigned  the  vaulting  of  the  nave  aisles,  the  north 
porch,  and  a  chapel  attached  to  the  north  transept.  Altera- 
tions of  an  extensive  nature  seem  to  have  been  begun  in  the 
fourteenth  century ;  for  to  this  date  belong  the  rood  screen, 
placed  farther  to  the  east  than  the  old  division  between  the 
ritual  choir  of  the  canons  and  the  western  part  of  the  nave, 
which  was  probably  given  up  to  the  lay  dwellers  in  the  parish, — 
and  the  splendid  reredos.  The  Lady  Chapel  also  was  completed 
certainly  before  1406,  probably  eleven  years  earlier.  The 
fifteenth  century  saw  the  western  tower  built  and  the  choir 
commenced  and  a  great  part  of  it  finished,  though  the  vault- 
ing seems  not  to  have  been  completed  until  the  early  part  of 
the  sixteenth  century,  as  W.  E.  the  initials  of  AVilliam  Eyre, 
who  was  prior  from  1502  to  1520,  are  to  be  seen  on  the 
bosses  and  the  arch  of  the  south  choir  aisle.  Somewhat  later 
still  is  the  chantry  at  the  east  end  of  the  south  choir  aisle, 
built  by  the  last  prior  and  dated  1529,  and  the  chantry  built 
by  the  last  of  the  Plantagenets,  Margaret,  Countess  of  Salisbury, 
daughter  of  the  Earl  of  Clarence  and  mother  of  Cardinal  Pole, 
who  at  the  age  of  seventy  was  executed  by  Henry  VIII.  in 

1541- 

Shortly    before    the    dissolution     in     1536    Prior    Draper 

addressed  a  petition  to  Henry  VIII.  which  is  still  in  exist- 
ence in  the  Record  Office,  praying  that  he  would  spare 
the   Priory   church,    basing    his    request    upon    the   desolate 


72  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

character  of  the  district,  the  poverty  of  the  house,  and  the 
fact  that  the  church  was  not  only  a  place  for  poor  religious 
men,  but  also  a  parish  church  to  the  town  and  hamlets  round 
about,  whose  inhabitants  numbered  from  fifteen  to  sixteen 
hundred,  that  there  was  no  place  where  any  honest  man  on 
horseback  or  on  foot  might  have  succour  or  repose  for 
the  space  of  eight  or  nine  miles,  "but  only  this  poor 
place  of  Christchurch,  to  which  both  rich  and  poor  doth  repair 
and  repose."  He  goes  on  to  say  how  it  was  of  late  years  a  place 
of  secular  canons,  until  the  king's  antecessors  made  it  a  place 
of  canons  regular,  that  "  the  poor,  not  only  of  the  parish  and 
town,  but  also  of  the  country,  were  daily  relieved  and  sustained 
with  bread  and  ale,  purposely  baked  and  brewed  for  them 
weekly  to  no  small  quantities  according  to  their  foundation, 
and  a  house  ordained  purposely  for  them,  and  officers  accord- 
ing duly  given  attendance  to  serve  them  to  their  great  comfort 
and  rehef."  But  all  the  pleading  was  in  vain.  Commissioners 
were  appointed,  who  presented  their  report  to  Lord  Cromwell 
December  2,  1539.  They  say  that  "we  found  the  Prior  a  very 
honest  and  conformable  person,  and  the  house  well  furnished 
with  jewels  and  plate,  whereof  some  be  meet  for  the  king's 
majesty's  use."  Then  follows  a  list  of  the  treasures  of  the 
abbey,  of  the  yearly  value  of  the  several  endowments,  and  of 
the  officers  of  the  Priory,  thirteen  in  number  besides  the  Prior. 
Prior  Draper  retired  on  a  pension,  and  the  site  of  the  domestic 
buildings  was  conveyed  to  Stephen  and  Margaret  Kirton.  The 
domestic  buildings  themselves  gradually  disappeared,  but  the 
whole  of  the  church  was  handed  over  to  the  parish  as  a  church, 
the  grant  to  the  churchwardens  being  made  by  letters  patent 
23  October  32  Henry  VHI.  It  conveyed  to  them  "the  choir 
body,  bell-tower  with  seven  bells,  stones,  timber,  lead  of  roofing 
and  gutters  of  the  church  and  the  cemetery  on  the  north  side." 
Since  then  the  church  has  been  served  by  vicars,  the  patronage 
being  in  the  hands  of  the  dean  and  chapter  of  Winchester 
until  the  present  century,  when  the  advowson  was  purchased  by 
Lord  Malmesbury. 

During  the  present  century  much  restoration  has  been  done. 
The  nave  was  vaulted  in  stucco  in  1819  ;  the  west  window 
was  taken  in  hand  in  1828;  the  pinnacles  of  the  tower  and 
the  upper  part  of  the  turret  containing  the  stairs  were  renewed 
in  1871  ;  and  constant  repairs  have  been  going  on  up  to  the 


HISTORY   OF   THE   BUILDIXG  73 

present  time  ;  and  the  principle  that  has  guided  the  restorer 
has  been,  when  any  stonework  has  been  removed  to  put  in  its 
place  as  exact  a  copy  of  the  old  as  possible, — a  principle  that 
cannot  be  approved  of,  as  it  will  lead,  when  the  newness  of  the 
modern  work  has  been  toned  down  by  time,  to  confusion 
between  the  £;enuine  old  work  and  the  modern  imitation  of  it. 
It  is  far  better,  when  there  is  no  question  of  stability  but  only 
of  appearance,  to  leave  the  old  stonework,  even  though  much 
decayed,  as  it  is,  unscraped,  untouched  by  the  chisel,  and  where 
strength  is  needed  to  put  in  frankly  nineteenth-century  work, 
which  could  never  by  any  possibility  be  mistaken  for  part  of 
the  original  building. 

One  of  the  most  glaring  instances  of  injudicious  restoration  is 
to  be  met  with  in  the  apsidal  chapel  attached  to  the  eastern 
side  of  the  south  transept.  This  work  was  carried  out  by  the 
Hon.  C.  Harris,  late  Bishop  of  Gibraltar.  The  arcading  is  a 
nineteenth-century  imitation  of  Norman  work  ;  the  pavement 
is  glaringly  modern.  Of  what  interest,  it  may  well  be  asked,  is 
such  work  ?  A\'ho  would  care  to  \isit  Christchurch  to  see  it  ? 
The  nineteenth-century  carver  cannot  possibly  produce  work 
similar  to  that  of  the  carver  who  lived  in  the  twelfth  centun.-, — 
the  conditions  of  his  life  are  altogether  different,  his  training 
bears  no  resemblance  to  that  of  the  old  artist,  his  work  is  a 
forgery,  and  a  most  clumsy  one  too.  In  this  chapel  we  see  this 
reprehensible  practice  carried  to  its  fullest  extent,  but  there  are 
many  other  parts  of  the  building  which  have  suffered.  Most  of 
the  arcading  on  the  exterior  of  the  transept  is  modern  imita- 
tion, and  the  tracer}-  of  the  windows  of  the  south  choir  aisle 
has  been  entirely  renewed  :  no  old  stones,  though  many  might 
have  been  used,  have  been  reset  in  their  original  position. 
The  arcading  of  the  south  aisle  of  the  nave  has  been  terriblv 
tampered  with.  Possibly  under  the  influence  of  time  many  of 
the  shafts  had  partially  crumbled,  and  the  surface  of  the 
carved  capitals  had  perished,  so  that  the  original  design  could 
not  be  made  out :  but  that  was  no  reason  for  cutting  away  the 
ornamental  work  to  make  way  for  modern  decoration  which 
may  or  may.  not  bear  some  slight  resemblance  to  what  was 
there  before.  Some  of  the  piers  of  the  nave  arcading  have 
also  been  partially  renewed.  By  an  act  of  much-to-be-con- 
demned vandalism  the  sub-arches  of  the  two  eastern  bays 
of  the  south  triforium  of  the  nave  were   cut  away  to  make 


74  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

room  for  faculty  pews  ;  recently  a  glaring  white  pillar  has  been 
introduced  into  the  westernmost  of  these  two  bays,  and  two 
sub-arches  built.  If  the  same  kind  of  work  is  carried  out 
in  the  other,  we  shall  see  in  all  probability  an  attempt  to 
copy  the  unique  scale  decoration  which  still  exists  on  the 
tympanum  under  the  corresponding  principal  arch  on  the 
north  side,  cut  with  modern  tools  with  all  the  lifeless  rigidity 
of  modern  work.  Another  mistake  which  has  been  made,  is 
the  scraping  off  of  the  plaster  from  the  interior  walls  of  the 
chamber  known  as  St  Michael's  Loft,  over  the  Lady  Chapel, 
and  the  re-pointing  of  the  stonework.  Old  builders  in- 
variably covered  their  rubble  walls  with  plaster,  but  the 
modern  restorer  for  some  reason  seems  to  hate  plaster  and 
prefers  to  show  the  coarse  stonework  which  the  builder  never 
intended  should  be  seen,  and  to  emphasise  the  roughness 
by  filling  up  the  joints  with  conspicuous  pointing.  This,  how- 
ever, is  not  so  destructive  as  much  of  the  work  which  has  been 
condemned  above,  because  at  any  time  the  walls  could  be  re- 
covered with  a  thin  coat  of  smooth  plaster  laid  on  with  a 
trowel,  but  not  "  floated," — that  is,  not  brought  to  a  smooth 
surface  by  a  long  straightedge. 

A  large  and  old  building  such  as  this  Priory  Church  will 
need  almost  constant  repairs  to  keep  it  sound  and  safe,  and 
the  income  from  visitors'  fees  is  quite  sufficient  for  this  purpose. 
It  is,  however,  much  to  be  feared  that  restoration  and  recon- 
struction will  form  far  too  large  a  part  of  the  work  done  in 
this  building.  Every  new  ornamental  stone,  to  make  room  for 
which  some  original  stone  is  displaced,  detracts  from  the  value 
of  the  building  from  an  archaeological  point  of  view  ;  and 
though  there  may  be  some,  or  even  many,  who  prefer  the 
trim  and  smug  appearance  of  modern  work  to  that  of  the 
old,  instinct  with  life,  full  of  the  thoughts  of  the  builders  and 
workers  in  wood  and  stone,  whose  bones  have  mouldered  into 
dust  in  the  garth  of  the  vanished  cloisters,  and  whose  very 
names  have  in  many  cases  been  forgotten,  yet  we  hope  that 
those  who  have  this  priceless  treasure  in  their  keeping  may 
recognise  ere  it  is  too  late,  that  the  result  of  a  continuance 
of  the  process  of  restoration  commenced  about  the  middle 
of  the  nineteenth  century  will  be  the  gradual  conversion  of  a 
splendid  memorial  of  bygone  ages  into  a  modern  sham,  and 
they    themselves   will    be    regarded,    when    true   love   of  art 


HISTORY   OF  THE   BUILDING  75 

becomes  general,  with  the  same  hidignation  as  that  which 
they  themselves  feel  with  regard  to  those  who  pulled  down 
the  roof  of  the  south  transept  and  cut  out  the  columns  and 
sub-arches  of  the  triforium  in  days  before  the  Gothic  revival 
set  in.  And  the  modern  restorer  has  less  excuse  than  the 
destroyer  of  a  hundred  years  ago.  If,  like  the  vandals  of 
the  Gxeorgian  period,  they  had  been  blind  to  the  beauties 
of  architectural  art,  they  would  have  had  no  sin,  yet  since 
they  profess  to  see,  therefore  their  sin  will  remain  and 
their  names  will  be  held  in  perpetual  reproach  and  ever- 
lasting contempt. 

The  foregoing  historical  sketch  of  the  building  has  perforce 
been  somewhat  vague  in  dates,  for,  in  the  absence  of 
documentary  evidence,  it  is  not  easy  to  fix  from  architectural 
considerations  alone  the  date  of  any  particular  piece  of  work 
within  a  limit  of  some  twenty  years  or  so.  The  out-of-the- 
way  position  of  the  Priory  of  Christchurch — for  no  great  road 
ran  through  the  town,  and  though  it  is  near  the  sea  there  is 
no  convenient  harbour  near  it — has  brought  it  to  pass  that 
it  is  scarcely  mentioned  in  any  mediaeval  chronicles.  Its 
own  fabric  rolls  and  annals  have  been  lost.  Here  and  there, 
however,  the  date  of  a  will  or  the  inscription  on  a  monument 
has  enabled  a  more  definite  date  to  be  arrived  at.  The  dates 
also  of  the  dedications  of  some  of  the  many  altars  are  known — 
viz.  that  of  the  Holy  Saviour,  used  by  the  canons  as  their  high 
altar,  and  that  of  St  Stephen,  dedicated  by  the  Bishop  of  Ross 
in  1199  ;  that  of  the  altar  of  the  Holy  Trinity,  which  stood  in 
the  nave,  and  was  the  high  altar  of  the  parish  ;  and  those  of  the 
altars  of  SS.  Peter  and  Paul,  SS.  Augustine  and  Gregory  and 
all  the  Prophets,  dedicated  by  Walter,  Bishop  of  Whitherne, 
on  November  7,  1214  ;  that  of  the  altar  of  St  John  the  Baptist 
and  St  Edmund,  dedicated  on  December  7,  12 14,  by  the 
same  bishop;  and  that  of  the  altar  of  SS.  Michael  and 
Martin,  dedicated  by  the  Bishop  of  the  Isles  in  1221. 


CHAPTER   II 

THE    EXTERIOR 

The  exterior  of  the  church  of  Christchurch  Priory  may  be 
well  seen  from  several  points  of  view.  The  churchyard  lies 
to  the  north  of  the  building,  extending  beyond  it  both  to  the 
east  and  west.  On  the  south  side,  where  all  the  domestic 
buildings  of  the  Priory  once  stood,  there  is  a  modern  house  and 
private  grounds.  All  that  belongs  to  the  church  is  a  path  running 
under  the  walls  as  far  as  the  east  corner  of  the  transept,  where 
a  garden  door  stops  farther  progress.  Several  glimpses  of  the 
building,  however,  may  be  obtained  on  the  way  down  to  the 
Stour,  and  seen  from  the  south  side  of  this  river,  the  church 
rises  above  its  surroundings,  and  forms  a  conspicuous  object. 
A  good  general  view  on  the  north-east  may  also  be  obtained 
from  a  bridge  over  the  Avon.  From  this  point  of  view  the 
great  length  of  the  church  is  apparent ;  on  the  right-hand 
side  may  be  seen  the  ruins  of  the  Norman  keep  of  the  castle 
on  its  artificial  mound,  and  nearer  to  the  bridge  the  remains 
of  a  twelfth-century  Norman  house.  From  the  churchyard, 
also,  the  whole  north  side  of  the  church  may  be  seen  at  once, 
and  many  striking  features  will  be  noticed.  Among  these, 
the  circular  staircase  attached  to  the  transept,  with  its  rich 
diaper  work ;  Norman  arcading  of  interlacing  arches  running 
round  the  transept ;  the  large  windows  of  the  choir  clerestory, 
so  wide  and  closely  set  together  that  the  whole  wall  seems 
as  though  composed  of  glass — through  which,  and  the  windows 
of  the  opposite  wall,  the  light  of  the  sky  can  be  seen ;  and 
lastly,  the  upper  storey  of  the  Lady  Chapel  with  its  row  of 
windows  of  a  domestic  type. 

A  systematic  examination  of  the  exterior  may  best  be  begun 
with  the  Western  Tower.  This  is  of  fifteenth-century  date, 
and  is  set  partially  within  the  church — that  is  to  say,  its  builder 
did  not  add  it  to  the  west  of  the  church,  making  an  archway 

76 


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78 


CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 


through  the  previously  existing  west  front,  but  pulled  down 
the  whole  west  wall  of  the  nave,  leaving,  however,  the  west 
walls  of  the  aisles,  and  carried  the  north  and  south  walls  of 
the  new  tower  as  far  back  into  the  church  as  the  space 
occupied  by  the  western  bay,  thus  leaving  two  spaces  at  the 
west  end  of  the  aisles,  one  now  used  as  a  vestry,  the  other  as 


TOWER  DOOR. 

a  kind  of  lumber-room.  In  the  west  face  of  the  tower  is  a 
doorway  under  a  rectangular  label ;  in  the  spandrels  are  two 
shields,  bearing  the  arms  of  the  Priory,  and  of  the  Montacutes 
and  Monthermers,  Earls  of  Salisbury.  The  doors  are  modern. 
Immediately  above  the  doorway  is  a  large  window  with  three 
tiers,  each  containing  six  lights.  The  head  of  the  window 
above  these  is  of  an  ordinary  Perpendicular  character.     The 


THE    EXTERIOR 


79 


tracery  was  restored  in  1828.  x\bove  this  window  is  a  niche 
containing  a  figure  of  Christ.  The  upper  stage,  which  contains 
the  bells,  has  two  two-light  windows  in  each  face,  each  light 
being  divided  by  a  transom.  These  windows  are  not  glazed, 
but  are  furnished  with  louvre-boards.  The  tower  is  crowned 
with  a  pierced  battlemented  parapet  having  pinnacles  at  the 
corners   and  at  the  middles  of  each  side ;    within  this  rises 


NORTH    PORCH. 


a  low  pyramidal  roof.  The  stair  turret  runs  up  at  the  north- 
east angle  of  the  tower ;  this  is  octagonal,  and  is  crowned 
with  a  parapet  and  crocketed  pinnacles ;  the  upper  part  of 
this  turret  and  the  pinnacles  were  renewed  in  187 1.  The 
tower  is  strengthened  by  two  buttresses  at  right  angles  to  each 
other  at  each  of  the  two  western  angles.  On  either  side  of 
the  tower,  as  already  explained,  may  be  seen  the  west  end  of 
the  nave  aisles  ;  these  have  windows  with  Perpendicular  tracery, 
and  on  the  north  wall  of  the  north  aisle  is  a  plain,  round- 
headed  doorway  cut  through  the  wall  in  modern  time,  with 
a  Perpendicular  window  ovtr  it. 


8o  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

Next  comes  the  North  Porch,  with  a  chamber  above  it^here, 
as  in  many  other  churches,  the  chief  entrance  into  the  building. 
Its  great  dimensions,  both  in  length  and  height,  however,  are 
remarkable ;  it  projects  40  feet  beyond  the  aisle  wall,  and  its 
own  side  walls  rise  nearly  to  the  height  of  the  clerestory  of  the 
church.  Its  south  end  does  not  extend  beyond  the  wall  of 
the  aisle,  so  that  there  is  a  space  between  the  upper  part  of 
the  porch  and  the  clerestory.  The  upper  part  above  the  porch 
proper  contains,  as  mentioned  above,  a  lofty  chamber,  prob- 
ably originally  the  muniment-room.  This  is  lighted  by  two 
pairs  of  narrow  single-light  windows  on  either  side,  and  by  a 
similar  pair  in  the  north  face  beneath  the  obtuse-angled  gable. 
This  room  is,  no  doubt,  a  later  addition.  The  entrance  into 
the  porch  is  a  beautiful,  deeply-recessed  archway  of  thirteenth- 
century  date,  with  numerous  shafts  of  Purbeck  marble  on 
either  side.  Within  the  porch  the  side  walls  are  divided 
into  two  compartments,  each  of  which  is  composed  of  two 
pointed  arches  beneath  another  larger  pointed  arch,  with  a 
cinquefoil  in  the  head.  On  the  west  side,  near  the  outer 
archway,  is  a  cinquefoiled  recess,  with  shafts  of  Purbeck 
marble  and  foliated  cusps.  This  is  said  originally  to  have 
contained  a  desk,  at  which  the  prior  met  the  parishioners  and 
signed  deeds.  A  stone  seat  runs  along  each  side  of  the  porch 
walls.  The  double  doorway  which  leads  into  the  church  is 
very  beautiful  and  rich  Early  English  work.  From  six 
Purbeck  marble  shafts  on  either  side  spring  the  orders  of 
the  enclosing  archway ;  the  heads  of  the  double  doorways 
themselves  are  cinquefoiled  arches  with  foliated  cusps. 
At  the  jambs,  and  dividing  the  two  doors,  are  clusters  of 
Purbeck  marble  shafts,  with  moulded  capitals.  In  the  tym- 
panum is  a  quatrefoil,  the  upper  part  of  which  projects  so 
as  to  form  a  canopy.  This  was,  no  doubt,  intended  to 
contain  some  carved  subject,  possibly  the  Doom.  Very  exten- 
sive restoration  was  carried  out  in  the  groining  and  porch 
generally,  in  1862. 

The  wall  of  the  North  Aisle  between  the  porch  and 
the  transept  is  divided  into  six  compartments  by  Early 
English  buttresses  with  gabled  heads.  This  wall  was  built 
in  Norman  times,  as  may  be  seen  from  the  small  round- 
headed  windows  which  light  the  clerestory,  but  was  in  Early 
English   times   faced  with   fresh   ashlar,    which   conceals   the 


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Sz  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

Norman  arcading  of  intersecting  arches  which  ran  along 
this  wall.  The  triforium  windows  on  this  side  are  not,  though 
they  are  on  the  south  side,  regularly  arranged ;  there  are  none 
in  the  two  western  divisions,  while  between  the  easternmost 
buttress  and  the  transept  there  are  two.  Six  late  thirteenth- 
century  windows  were  cut  through  this  wall  —  these  are 
all  of  similar  design ;  they  consist  of  two  lights  under  a 
comprising  arch,  with  a  circle  in  the  head.  The  clerestory 
windows  are  of  plainer  character.  Each  window  consists  of 
two  simple  lancets  set  under  a  recessed  arch  without  any 
hood  moulding ;  the  tympana  also  above  the  lancet  heads  are 
not  pierced  or  decorated  in  any  way ;  in  fact,  the  whole 
clerestory  is  remarkably  plain.  Between  the  windows  are  flat 
buttresses.  The  aisles  are  covered  with  lean-to  roofs  of  lead, 
the  nave  itself  with  a  tiled  roof  of  medium  pitch.  The  gable 
at  the  east  end  of  the  nave,  and  indications  on  the  east  face  of 
the  tower,  show  that  the  pitch  of  the  roof  was  once  higher, 
and  that  it  must  have  been  lowered  at  some  time  after  the 
tower  was  built  in  the  fifteenth  century. 

The  North  Transept  is  most  interesting.  Its  west  wall 
contains  two  round-headed  windows  with  billet  moulding, 
the  northern  one  blocked  up ;  and  at  the  north-west  corner  is 
a  cluster  of  cylindrical  shafts  running  up  to  about  the  same 
height  as  the  walls  of  the  aisle.  Why  they  terminated  here  it 
is  hard  to  say ;  they  may  mark  the  termination  of  the  original 
Norman  wall.  This  wall  may  not  have  risen  above  this 
height,  or  the  upper  part  may  have  been  taken  down  and 
rebuilt  when  the  large  Perpendicular  window  was  inserted  in 
the  north  end  of  the  transept.  At  the  north-east  corner  of 
the  transept  stands  a  richly-ornamented  turret  of  Norman  date. 
Round  the  lower  part  of  this  the  arcade  of  intersecting  arches 
which  runs  round  the  whole  transept  is  carried ;  above  this, 
round  the  turret,  runs  an  arcading  of  semicircular-headed 
arches  springing  from  pairs  of  shafts ;  above  this  the  wall  is 
decorated  with  diaper  work  ;  and  finally,  another  arcading,  this 
time  of  round-headed  arches  rising  from  single  shafts,  encircles 
the  turret.  The  turret  is  capped  by  a  sloping  roof  of  stone 
attached  to  the  transept  wall.  This  turret  is  worthy  of  close 
attention,  because  it  shows  how  the  Norman  builders  hated 
monotony ;  each  stage  has  its  own  decoration  unlike  that  of 
any  other ;  and,  moreover,  there  are  variations  in  the  shafts  of 


THE   EXTERIOR  83 

the  arcading — some  are  plain,  some  decorated  in  one  way,  some 


r^ 


^    \  ^ 


THE    NOkTJi    TKANSKl'T    IX    IMU. 

(From  ISritton's  "Architectural  Antiquities.") 

in  another.     The  same  love  of  variety  may  be  seen  here  that 
lends  so  great  a  charm  on  a  larger  scale  to  Flambard's  glorious 


84  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

nave  at  Durham.  No  doubt  this  north  transept  had  attached 
to  its  east  wall  an  apsidal  Norman  chapel  similar  to  that 
which  still  exists  on  the  eastern  side  of  the  south  transept, 
but  this  had  to  make  way  for  an  addition  of  two  chapels,  which 
we  may  assign,  from  the  character  of  their  architecture,  to  the 
latter  end  of  the  thirteenth  century.  The  northern  chapel  is 
lighted  by  a  three-light  window  with  three  foliated  circles  in 
the  head,  which  is  rather  sharp  pointed,  and  the  southern 
one  by  a  two-light  window  with  one  foliated  arch.  These 
are  beautiful  examples  of  plate  tracery.  Above  these 
chapels  is  a  small  chamber  lighted  by  a  window  of  similar 
character.  This  is  supposed  to  have  been  the  tracing  room, 
where  the  various  architectural  designs  for  the  building  were 
drawn. 

To  the  east  of  the  transept  may  be  seen  the  Choir  and 
Presbytery,  with  its  four  clerestory  windows ;  the  Choir 
Aisle,  also  with  four  windows ;  the  Lady  Chapel,  with 
the  octagonal  turret-staircase  leading  into  Saint  Michael's 
Loft  above  it.  It  will  be  noticed  that  there  is  no  window 
in  the  aisle  under  the  western  clerestory  window  of  the 
choir,  as  the  space  where  this  would  have  been  found 
is  occupied  by  the  two  chapels  to  the  east  of  the 
transept,  and  also  that  the  aisle  extends  beycnd  the  choir  and 
flanks  the  western  part  of  the  Lady  Chapel.  The  whole  of 
this  part  of  the  church  is  of  Perpendicular  character.  The 
windows  of  the  choir  aisles  are  low,  the  arches  are  depressed, 
and  the  curvature  of  each  side  of  the  arch  is  so  slight  that 
they  appear  almost  straight  lines.  The  body  of  these  windows 
contains  four  lights  ;  in  the  head,  each  of  these  is  subdivided 
into  two.  Between  the  aisle  windows  are  buttresses,  which, 
with  the  exception  of  the  one  opposite  the  east  wall  of  the 
choir,  which  terminates  in  a  gable,  have  pinnacled  cappings ; 
and  from  each  of  these,  save  the  gabled  one,  a  flying  buttress 
is  carried  over  the  roof  of  the  aisle  and  rests  against  the  choir 
wall.  The  aisle  roof  is  flat,  and  at  the  top  of  the  outer  wall 
runs  a  plain  parapet  pierced  with  quatrefoil  openings.  The 
clerestory  windows  are  of  great  size  and  are  set  close  together. 
The  choir  roof  is  flat  and  is  quite  invisible  from  the  exterior. 
There  can  be  little  doubt  that  a  parapet  at  one  time  ran  along 
the  tops  of  the  clerestory  walls,  but  this  has  disappeared.  The 
Lady  Chapel  has   on  either   side   three   large  Perpendicular 


THE    EXTERIOR 


85 


windows  ;  the  arches  of  these  as  well  as  those  of  the  clerestory 
have  pointed  heads.  The  western  half  of  the  central  window 
of  the  Lady  Chapel  is  blocked  up  by  the  later-built  octagonal 


THE   NORTH    TRANSEPT. 

turret  containing  the  staircase  to  Saint  Michael's  Loft.  The 
staircase  commences  in  an  octagonal  turret  at  the  north-east 
corner  of  the  choir  aisle, —  this  rises  above  the  aisle  roof, — the 
stairs  are  then  carried  above  the  east  wall  of  the  choir  aisle 
and  then  into  the  octagonal  turret,  which  runs  up  the  wall  of 


86  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

the  Lady  Chapel  and  the  loft  above,  and  rises  to  some  height 
above  the  parapet.  There  is  a  similar  staircase  on  the  south 
side,  but  the  turret  does  not  rise  quite  so  high  above  the  roof. 
There  are  five  square-headed  two-light  windows  on  either  side 
of  St  Michael's  Loft,  the  lights  being  divided  by  transoms,  the 
upper  parts  foliated.  At  the  east  end  is  a  three-light  window 
without  any  transom,  with  an  obtuse  arch  under  a  dripstone. 
The  loft  has  a  parapet  all  round  it  pierced  with  quatrefoil 
openings.  Some  of  this  parapet,  at  any  rate,  is  modern,  as, 
in  a  photograph  of  the  north  side  taken  in  1884,  the  parapet 
is  only  shown  to  the  east  of  the  turret.  As  restoration  work 
is  constantly  going  on  at  the  church,  the  money  paid  by 
visitors  for  viewing  the  interior  (sixpence  a  head,  which  pro- 
duces over  ;^5oo  a  year)  being  devoted  to  this  object,  the 
parapet  will  doubtless  in  course  of  time  be  extended  along 
the  walls  of  the  choir,  and  will  certainly  add  to  the  beauty  of 
the  church ;  and  as  nothing  will  be  destroyed  to  make  room 
for  it,  such  an  addition  will  not  be  open  to  the  same  objection 
as  much  of  the  work  done  by  restoration  committees. 

The  buttresses  at  the  east  angles  of  the  Lady  Chapel  are 
set  diagonally,  and  rise  in  five  stages ;  the  upper  stage  of  each 
is  square,  in  section,  with  the  faces  parallel  to  the  walls  of  the 
church,  and  reaches  a  higher  level  than  the  parapet,  and  is 
finished  with  a  flat  cap.  The  large  east  window  is  a  Perpen- 
dicular one  of  five  lights.  From  the  base  of  the  south-east 
buttress  runs  a  wall  dividing  the  burying-ground  from  the 
gardens  of  the  house,  to  the  south  of  the  church,  which  stands 
on  the  site  of  the  domestic  buildings  of  the  priory.  The 
portion  of  the  wall  of  the  Lady  Chapel  beneath  the  eastern- 
most window  on  the  north  side  is  modern.  Here  Mr  Ferrey, 
the  architect,  by  whom  much  of  the  restoration  was  carried 
out,  discovered  traces  of  an  external  chantry  and  the  marks  of 
an  arcading  corresponding  to  that  still  remaining  on  the  inside. 

The  object  of  the  chamber  above  the  Lady  Chapel  is  un- 
certain,— in  16 1 7  it  is  described  as  "St  Michael's  Loft,"  in 
1666  the  parishioners  described  it  as  "heretofore  a  chapter- 
house," when  petitioning  the  bishop  to  allow  it  to  be  used  as 
a  school.  But  if  it  was  ever  used  as  a  chapter-house,  it  could 
only  have  been  for  a  short  time,  as  there  is  evidence  that  there 
was  a  chapter-house  to  the  south  side  of  the  choir  in  the  twelfth 
century,  and  that  this  remained  as  late  as  1498.     The  south 


< 

fa 
O 

►J 


H 
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O 

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88  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

side  of  the  Lady  Chapel  and  choir  correspond  very  closely  with 
the  north  side,  but  there  are  several  differences  to  be  noticed 
between  the  south  and  north  transepts.  On  the  eastern  side  of 
the  South  Transept  the  Norman  apsidal  chapel  still  remains. 
This  has  a  semi-conical  roof  with  chevron  table  moulding  under 
it,  and  two  windows — one  of  original  Norman  work,  the  other 
a  three-light  Early  English  window.  A  sacristy  of  Early  English 
date  stands  to  the  east  of  the  apsidal  chapel,  and  occupies  the 
space  between  the  apse  and  the  south  choir  wall.  At  the  south- 
east corner  of  the  transept  there  is  a  circular  stair  turret  corre- 
sponding to  some  extent  with  the  turret  at  the  north-east  angle 
of  the  north  transept ;  this,  in  the  second  stage,  become's 
octagonal  in  section,  and  rises  above  the  parapet  of  the 
transept.  In  the  south  face  is  a  depressed  segmental  window, 
much  smaller  than  the  corresponding  window  on  the  north 
side,  under  a  gabled  parapet.  The  pitch  of  the  roof  of  the 
south  transept  is  much  higher  than  that  of  the  north  transept, 
and  the  upper  part  of  the  transept  does  not  abut  against  the 
walls  of  the  church.  Two  tiers  of  corbel  brackets  on  the 
south  wall,  and  traces  of  two  Norman  windows  seem  to  in- 
dicate that  here,  as  elsewhere,  a  slype,  with  a  room  above  it, 
intervened  between  the  south  end  of  the  transept  and  the 
chapter-house.  This  slype  was  generally  a  passage  connecting 
the  cloister  garth  with  the  smaller  garth  to  the  south  of  the 
choir  which  was  often  used  as  a  burying-place  for  the  abbots  or 
priors,  as  the  case  may  be,  and  was  the  place  where  the  monks 
or  canons  interviewed  visitors  and  chapmen.  The  room  above 
was  often  used  as  the  library.  The  south  of  the  Nave  is 
decidedly  inferior  in  interest  to  the  north.  The  cloisters  have 
entirely  disappeared,  but  a  series  of  round-headed  arches, 
formed  of  stucco,  may  conceal  a  stone  arcading  similar  to  that 
hidden  by  the  Early  English  facing  of  the  north  wall.  The 
small  round-headed  windows  giving  light  to  the  triforium  are 
more  regularly  arranged  than  on  the  north  side  ;  there  is  one, 
and  only  one,  in  each  division  between  the  buttresses.  There 
were,  as  usual,  two  doors  in  this  wall :  one  for  the  canons, 
in  the  wall  opposite  to  the  west  of  the  cloister,  one  close  to  the 
transept  for  the  prior  ;  both  are  now  blocked  up.  The  prior's 
door,  in  the  injunction  of  Langton,  1498,  is  directed  to  be 
kept  locked,  save  when  on  festivals  a  procession  passed  through 
it.     This  doorway   is   of  early  thirteenth-century  work  ;    it  is 


THE   EXTERIOR  89 

round-headed,  and  is  French  in  character.  There  is  a  legend 
that  a  party  of  French  monks,  terrified  by  a  dragon  which  rose 
out  of  the  sea,  possibly  an  ancestor  of  the  sea-serpent  of  more 
modern  days,  put  in  to  Christchurch  haven,  and  were  enter- 
tained by  the  canons,  with  whom  they  abode  for  many  years  ; 
possibly  this  door  may  be  of  their  workmanship  or  design. 
In  the  south  wall  a  large  aumbry  or  cupboard,  in  the  thickness 
of  the  walls,  may  be  seen  ;  in  this  possibly  the  canons  kept  the 
books  that  they  had  brought  from  the  library  for  study.  What 
the  windows  in  this  aisle  were  we  cannot  say — originally,  no 
doubt,  Norman,  for  the  westernmost  window  is  still  of  this 
style  ;  but  the  others,  which  were  widened  either  in  Early 
English  or  Decorated  times,  are  now  all  filled  with  nineteenth- 
century  tracery  of  Decorated  type.  The  buttresses  between 
the  windows,  unlike  those  on  the  north  side,  are  flat  Norman 
ones.  Towards  the  west  end  of  the  aisle  a  passage  has  in 
modern  times  been  cut  through  the  wall,  and  when  this  was 
done  remains  of  a  staircase  which,  no  doubt,  led  to  the 
dormitory,  were  discovered.  The  clerestory,  on  this  side,  is 
of  the  same  plain  character  as  on  the  north  side. 

In  a  line  with  the  south  wall,  but  some  little  distance  to 
the  west,  still  stands  a  house  which  was  once  the  porter's 
lodge,  close  to  the  site  of  the  gatehouse.  The  porter's  lodge 
was  built  by  Prior  Draper  II.  in  the  sixteenth  century.  The 
remains  of  the  domestic  buildings  are  very  scanty^some  old 
walls  near  the  modern  mill,  occupying,  no  doubt,  the  site  of 
the  mill  where  the  canons'  corn  was  ground ;  some  vestiges  of 
the  fish  ponds ;  some  few  traces  of  walls  and  foundations, 
are  all  that  have  come  down  to  modern  days.  From  the 
similarity  of  arrangement  in  the  buildings  of  religious  houses, 
however,  we  can,  with  great  certainty,  assign  the  sites  for 
the  various  parts — the  dormitory  over  the  cellarage,  to  the  west 
of  the  cloister  garth  ;  the  refectory  to  south  of  it ;  the  cale- 
factory, chapter-house,  slype,  to  the  east ;  and  the  prior's 
lodgings  to  the  south  of  the  choir,  forming  the  lesser  garth  ; 
the  barns,  bakery,  and  brew-house  to  the  south-west  of  the 
church,  near  the  porter's  lodge  and  gatehouse.  The  prior 
had  a  country  house  at  Heron  Court,  a  grange  at  Somerford, 
and  another  at  St  Austin's,  near  Lymington.  It  must  be 
understood  that  the  choir  was  the  church  of  the  canons, 
and,    as   was   common    in    churches    served    by   Augustinian 


90  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

canons,  the  nave  was  used  for  the  services  which  the  laity  of 
the  district  attended. 

It  is  noteworthy  that  whether  owing  to  the  purity  of  the 
air,  so  different  from  that  which  exists  in  the  large  cities 
where  so  many  of  the  cathedral  churches  stand,  or  from  the 
goodness  of  the  stone,  most  of  the  Priory  Church  is  in  most 
excellent  preservation.  Carving  which,  we  are  assured,  has 
never  been  retouched  with  a  chisel  since  it  was  first  cut, 
remains  as  sharp  and  clearly  cut  as  though  it  were  the  work 
of  the  nineteenth  century  ;  possibly  some  of  its  excellence  is 
due  to  the  preservative  effect  of  the  whitewash  with  which  it 
was  once  covered,  and  which  has  been  cleaned  off  with  water 
and  a  stiff  bristled  brush. 

The  stone  of  which  the  north  side  of  the  nave  is  built  came 
from  Binstead  ;  the  limestone  columns  from  Henden  Hill ;  the 
Norman  round  turret  and  the  choir  is  built  of  Portland  stone ; 
while  Purbeck  marble  shafts  are  used  in  the  north  porch,  and 
of  the  fine  white  stone  from  Caen  in  Normandy,  the  Salisbury 
and  Draper  chantries  in  the  interior  are  constructed.  These, 
though  now  about  four  hundred  years  old,  are  absolutely 
sharp  in  all  the  carving.  There  is  a  tombstone  to  the 
north  of  the  porch  which  bears  a  curious  inscription  as 
follows: — "We  were  not  slayne  but  raysd,  raysd  not  to  life 
but  to  be  byried  twice  by  men  of  strife.  What  rest  could 
the  living  have  when  dead  had  none  agree  amongst  you 
heere  we  ten  are  one.  Hen.  Rogers  died  Aprill  17  1641." 
This  inscription  has  been  variously  explained.  It  is  said 
by  some  that  Cromwell,  afterwards  Protector,  was  at  Christ- 
church,  and  dug  up  some  lead  coffins  to  make  bullets  for  his 
soldiers,  and  flung  the  bodies  out  of  ten  such  coffins  into  one 
grave ;  but  this  is  manifestly  incorrect.  Oliver  Cromwell  was 
never  at  Christchurch,  though  Thomas  Cromwell  probably 
was,  and  here,  as  elsewhere,  the  two  have  been  confounded. 
In  many  cases  poor  Oliver  has  had  to  bear  the  blame  for  de- 
struction caused  to  churches  by  his  less  well-known  namesake, 
the  great  destroyer  of  religious  houses  in  the  days  of  the 
eighth  Henry.  But  neither  of  them  had  anything  to  do  with 
this  tomb,  nor  were  the  Parliamentary  forces  guilty  of  tamper- 
ing with  the  coffins  of  the  dead  in  the  parish  burying-ground  at 
Christchurch.  The  very  date  precludes  the  idea,  for  the  civil 
war  did  not  begin  till  more  than  fifteen  months  after  the  date 


THE    EXTERIOR  91 

carved  on  this  stone  ;  and  we  may  give  the  Roundheads  credit 
for  more  sense  than  to  be  digging  up  coffins  to  make  their 
bullets  with,  when  there  was  abundance  of  lead  to  be  had 
for  the  stripping  on  the  roof  of  the  Priory  Church.  A  far  more 
probable  explanation  is  that  which  states  that  the  ten  bodies 
here  interred  were  those  of  ten  shipwrecked  sailors,  who  were 
first  buried  on  the  cliffs  near  the  spot  where  they  were  washed 
ashore ;  but  the  lord  of  the  manor,  when  he  heard  thereof, 
waxed  exceeding  wroth,  and  a  strife  ensued  between  him 
and  one  Henry  Rogers,  Mayor  of  Christchurch,  the  former 
insisting  on  their  removal  to  consecrated  ground,  the  latter 
objecting  to  the  removal,  probably  on  the  ground  of  expense  ; 
but  in  the  end  the  lord  of  the  manor  had  his  way.  But  the 
mayor,  to  save  the  cost  of  ten  separate  graves,  had  them 
all  buried  in  one,  and  placed  this  inscription  over  their 
remains  as  a  protest  against  the  conduct  of  the  lord  of  the 
manor  in  moving  their  remains  from  their  first  resting- 
place. 

The  graveyard  at  the  present  time  is  neatly  kept  and  well 
cared  for.  The  headstones  have  not,  as  they  have  been  in 
many  other  places,  tampered  with  ;  and  though  many  of  the 
alterations  made  in  the  restoration  will  not  gain  the  approval 
of  archaeologists,  yet  some  have  been  judiciously  done,  and 
some  that  are  in  contemplation  will  certainly  have  the  result 
of  rendering  once  more  visible  beautiful  mediaeval  work,  long 
concealed  by  ugly  modern  additions. 


CHAPTER   III 

THE    INTERIOR 

A  RAPID  walk  round  the  interior  of  the  Priory  Church  shows 
that  it  practically  consists  of  three  main  portions,  almost 
entirely  divided  from  each  other — the  Nave,  the  Choir,  and 
the  Lady  Chapel.  The  solid  rood  screen,  pierced  by  one 
narrow  doorway,  forms  an  effectual  division  between  the  nave 
and  choir,  while  the  stone  reredos  and  the  wall  above  it, 
running  right  up  to  the  vaulting,  entirely  separates  the  latter 
from  the  Lady  Chapel.  In  mediaeval  times  the  choir  was 
reserved  for  the  use  of  the  canons ;  the  nave  was  the  parish 
church  with  its  own  high  altar ;  the  rood  loft  was  an  excellent 
point  of  vantage  from  which  a  preacher  could  address  a 
large  congregation.  In  those  times  pews  had  not  been 
introduced ;  open  benches  may  have  existed.  At  present 
the  nave  is  occupied  by  pews ;  these  with  their  cast-iron 
poppies  were  erected  in  1840,  and  were  then  higher  than 
at  present.  Still,  even  in  their  present  form,  they  hide  the 
bases  of  the  pillars,  and  might  with  much  advantage  be 
swept  away,  and  their  places  taken  by  open  benches  or 
movable  chairs.  The  pews  in  the  transepts  are  of  older 
date;  these,  together  with  the  galleries  above  them — that  in 
the  south  transept  supporting  the  organ — are  a  sad  disfigure- 
ment to  the  church,  and  it  is  to  be  hoped  that  they  will 
be  soon  removed ;  they  hide  some  splendid  Norman  work. 
The  case  of  the  north  gallery  is  worse  than  the  south,  as 
a  staircase  leading  to  it  disfigures  the  beautiful  Early  English 
chapel  attached  to  the  east  side  of  the  transept.  This  gallery, 
however,  contains  some  faculty  pews.  All  the  owners  of  these, 
save  one,  consented  to  its  removal ;  but  one  stood  out 
against  it,  and,  having  the  legal  right  to  prevent  any  altera- 
tion, has  up  to  the  present  time  kept  the  gallery  intact. 
But  as   he   has   recently   died  there  can  be  little  doubt   that 

92 


THE   INTERIOR 


93 


no  long  time  will  now  elapse  before  this  disfigurement  to 
the  church  will  be  a  thing  of  the  past.  There  seems  Uttle 
need  for  the  gallery,  as  there  is  ample  accommodation  on 
the  floor  of  the  church  for  any  congregation  that  is  likely 
to  assemble  within  the  walls.  Many  alterations,  some  of 
which  are  certainly  improvements,  have  already  been  made. 
In  an  engraving,  dated  1834,  the  organ  is  represented  standing 
on  the  rood  screen, 
probably  the  best 
place  for  it ;  and  the 
four  eastern  bays  of 
the  nave  are  seen  to 
be  partitioned  off  by 
a  wooden  screen 
with  a  rod  for  cur- 
tains. On  a  level 
with  the  capitals  of 
the  pillars,  to  the 
west  of  this  partition, 
stands  the  font.  At 
this  time  also  the  tri- 
forium  was  boarded 
off  in  order  to  shut 
out  draughts  and 
cold  ;  but  this  board- 
ing has  happily  been 
swept  away,  the  par- 
tition across  the  nave 
has  been  removed, 
and  an  oaken  screen 
with  glazed  panels 
runs  across  the 
church,  cutting  off 
the  western  bay  from 
the  remainder  of  the  nave 
stands  under  the  tower ;  a 


The  Nave  in  1834. 


The  font,  a  modern  one,  now 
modern  pulpit  on  the  south  side, 
under  the  crossing,  where  also  desks  for  the  clergy  and  choir 
have  been  placed.  It  is  now  the  custom  on  Sunday  mornings 
to  read  the  whole  of  the  service  up  to  the  end  of  the  Nicene 
Creed,  in  the  nave ;  after  the  sermon  is  over,  the  com- 
municants alone   enter  the  choir   to   receive   the   sacrament. 


94  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

The  choir  is  also  used  for  week-day  services.     The  Lady  Chapel 
is   not   used.      The  nave  is    Early  Norman   work,    and   was 
chiefly  built  during  the  reign  of  William  II.  ;  the  clerestory, 
however,  was  added  at  the  beginning  of  the  thirteenth  century 
by  Peter,  who  was  prior  from    1195  to   1225.     The  original 
nave   was   probably   covered   by  a   flat   wooden   ceiling,    the 
Early  Norman   builders  rarely  venturing   to   span   any   wide 
space  by  a  stone  vaulting.     The  present  vaulting  is  of  stucco, 
and  was  added  by  Garbett  in   1819.     The  roof  was  altered 
in   Perpendicular  times  more  than  once,  as  indications  of  a 
higher  pitched  roof  than   the  present  one  exists  on  the  east 
face  of  the  fifteenth-century  tower.     As  springing  stones  for 
a  vaulted  roof  exist,  it  is  probable  that  a  stone  roof  was  at 
one  time  contemplated  ;  but  possibly  the  idea  was  abandoned 
on  account   of  the   fear  that  the   walls,   unsupported  by  any 
exterior  flying  buttress  to  resist  the  thrust,   would  not  have 
borne  the  weight.     It  will  be  remembered  that  such  buttresses 
are  to  be  met  with  along  the  walls  of  the   choir,    which  is 
covered  with  a  stone  vaulting.     The  nave  consists  of  seven 
bays.     The  pillars  of  this  arcading,  unlike  those  of  Flambard's 
nave   at    Durham,    are   not  cylindrical,    but   consist    of    half 
columns  set  against  piers  rectangular  in  section.     The  capitals 
are  of  the  early  cushion  shape ;  some  of  them  seem  to  have 
been   subsequently  carved   with    ornamentation  which    bears 
some    resemblance    to    classical    forms.      The    wall    spaces 
above  the  semicircular  arches,  and  below  the  chevron  string- 
course which  runs  beneath  the  triforium,  are  decorated  with 
hatchet-work  carving,  as  will  be  seen  from  the  illustrations. 
The  triforium   on  either   side  consists,   in  each  bay,  of  two 
coupled  arches  supported  by  a  central  pillar,  enclosed  by  a 
comprising  arch  with  bold  mouldings  and  double  columns, 
separated  by  square  members.      The  most  beautiful   bay  is 
the  easternmost,   on  the  north   side,  where  the  wall  surface 
above  the  smaller  arches,  and   beneath   the   enclosing   arch, 
is  carved  with  a  kind  of  scale-work.       Possibly  the  opposite 
bay,   on   the  south   side,  was  as  richly  ornamented,   but  the 
lower   arches   and   the    central    column   no    longer   exist,    as 
they  were  cut  away  to  make  room  for  a  faculty  pew  in   1820. 
These  two  bays  were  included  within  the   original   Norman 
choir.     The  central  shaft,  on  the  north  side,  is  twisted.     Two 
of  the  central  shafts,  on  the  south  side,  are  richly  ornamented 


THE  NAVE. 


96 


CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 


— one  with  twisted  decoration,    the   other  with   a   projecting 
reticulated  pattern.     The  shaft  and  sub-arches  of  the  second 


NORTH    ARCADE   OF   NAVE. 


bay   from    the   east   on   this    side  is  a   modern    renewal,   as 
here  also  the  old  work  was  destroyed  in  1820  to  make  room 


FROM    THE    NORTH    TRIFORIUM. 


98 


CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 


WT 


for  a  pew.  The  north  triforium  can  be  reached  by  a  staircase 
continued  up  into  the  tower,  entered  from  the  western  part 
of  the  aisle ;  access  to  the  south  triforium  can  only  be 
gained  by  the  use  of  a  ladder.     The  north  triforium  deserves 

examination.  It  will  be 
found  that  pointed  arches 
have  been  added  at  the 
back,  and  buttresses 
have  been  built  against 
the  back  of  the  wall 
behind  the  arches ;  the 
floor  is  rendered  uneven 
by  humps  necessitated  by 
the  Early  English  vault- 
ing of  the  aisle  below — 
probably  the  aisles  were 
originally  covered  with 
a  barrel  roof.  At  the 
east  end  of  the  north 
triforium  an  arch  may 
be  seen,  which  once 
opened  out  into  the 
transept ;  this  is  now 
walled  up,  and  traces  of 
painting  may  still  be  seen 
on  it.  There  is  a  pass- 
age under  the  clerestory,  to  which  access  may  be  obtained 
by  a  passage  across  the  transept ;  this  was,  no  doubt,  made 
in  order  that  the  shutters  of  the  windows  might  be  opened 
or  closed,  according  to  the  state  of  the  weather.  From  the 
staircase  which  leads  up  to  the  north  triforium  a  passage 
leads  into  the  chamber  over  the  north  porch.  This  is  a  large 
room,  about  40  feet  in  length  from  north  to  south,  and  is  now 
used  as  a  practising  room  for  the  choir ;  it  is  fitted  with 
benches  and  a  grand  piano,  and  has  a  modern  wooden  gallery 
running  along  its  south  end. 

The  South  Aisle  is  much  more  elaborately  decorated  than 
the  north.  Along  the  south  wall  runs  a  fine  Norman  arcade, 
the  arches  ornamented  with  billet  and  cable  moulding.  The 
window  in  the  western  bay  is  the  original  Norman  one; 
the  others  were  altered  either  in  Early  English  or  Decorated 


Bav  of  the  Tkifokium,  South  Side. 


THE    SOUTH    AISLE    OF   NAVE. 


loo  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

times,  and  are  now  filled  with  modern  tracery  in  the  Decorated 
style  designed  by  Mr  Ferrey.  In  the  third  bay  is  a  holy  water 
stoop,  and  in  the  fifth  a  large  aumbry  or  recess,  entered  by 
a  door;  in  this  used  to  be  kept  the  bier  and  lights  used  at 
funerals.  Along  the  walls  of  each  aisle  runs  a  stone  bench. 
There  is  no  arcading  on  the  wall  of  the  north  aisle.  The 
vaulting  of  both  aisles  is  Early  English,  dating  from  the  time 
of  Peter,  the  third  prior,  who,  as  previously  stated,  built 
the  clerestory.  The  tracery  of  the  north  aisle  windows 
is  transitional  in  character  between  Early  English  and 
Decorated. 

The  Transepts  are  much  encumbered  by  modern  pew§  and 
galleries,  and  it  is  only  by  careful  examination  that  mu^  of 
the  beautiful  work  that  they  contain  can  be  seen.  The  arch 
opening  from  the  south  aisle  into  the  transept  is  Early  English, 
and  the  skilful  junction  of  Early  English  and  Norman  work 
at  this  point  is  deserving  of  attention.  This  transept  was  at 
one  time  covered  by  a  stone  vaulting,  which  was  destroyed  at 
the  latter  end  of  the  eighteenth  century  and  in  the  beginning 
of  the  nineteenth.  Some  of  the  bosses  taken  from  this  may 
be  seen,  piled  up  with  the  old  font  and  other  fragments,  at 
the  west  end  of  the  north  choir  aisle.  The  west  wall  of  the 
transept  contains  a  Norman  window.  A  doorway  into  the 
slype  remains  in  the  wall;,  and  communicates  with  a  wall 
passage.  At  the  eastern  side  of  the  transept  an  arch  opens 
out  into  an  apsidal  chapel,  but  pews  block  up  the  entrance. 
This  chapel  has  been  so  completly  restored  that  it  has  a 
thoroughly  neat  and  modern  appearance,  and  has  lost  all 
its  archaeological  value ;  round  it  runs  a  Norman  arcade,  and 
on  the  north  side  an  aumbry  may  be  seen.  The  north 
transept  retains  its  Norman  arcading,  which,  fortunately,  has 
not  been  touched  by  the  restorer's  hand  ;  how  long  it  may 
escape  is  doubtful,  as  it  is  much  mutilated.  Still,  as  it  is  simply 
decorative,  and  not  necessary  for  the  stability  of  the  wall, 
it  would  be  well  to  leave  it  untouched,  as  genuine  old  work, 
even  though  it  may  have  suffered  at  the  hand  of  time  or  of 
former  generations,  is,  from  a  decorative  point  of  view,  in- 
finitely preferable  to  any  modern  reproduction.  There  are 
two  small  windows  in  the  west  wall  to  light  the  wall  passage 
to  the  clerestory,  which  is  reached  by  a  gallery  running  across 
the  base  of  the  north  window.     In  the  north  wall,  behind  the 


THE  MONTACUTE   CHANTRY. 


I02  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

back  of  the  pews,  is  a  thirteenth-century  recess.  From  this 
transept  access  is  gained  to  the  circular  staircase  leading 
downward  to  the  crypt  and  upward  to  the  small  chamber 
above  the  eastern  chapels.  This  is  popularly  known  as  Oliver 
Cromwell's  harness  room,  and  marks  are  shown  on  the  wall 
supposed  to  have  been  holes  for  the  insertion  of  pegs  whereon 
he  hung  his  harness ;  but  as  the  Protector  never  came  to 
Christchurch,  all  this  is  purely  mythical.  On  one  of  the 
walls  Mr  Ferrey,  the  architect,  found  a  design  for  a  window  ; 
this  he  copied,  and  used  when  designing  the  tracery  of  the 
window  he  inserted  over  the  prior's  door  at  the  east  end  of 
the  south  aisle  of  the  nave.  This  tracing  chamber  is  lighted 
by  a  two-light  window  with  a  quatrefoil  in  the  head  in  the 
eastern  wall.  The  two  chapels  below  are  beautiful  examples 
of  transition  work  from  the  Early  English  to  the  Decorated 
style ;  they  were  built  by  the  De  Redvers,  Earls  of  Devon, 
the  last  of  whom  died  in  1263.  The  eagles  of  the  Montacute 
and  Monthermer  families  appear  in  this  chantry.  There  are 
two  windows  in  the  eastern  wall.  The  larger,  on  the  north, 
consists  of  three  lights,  with  three  circles  in  the  head  ;  the 
foliation  of  these  outside  the  glass  forms  cinquefoil  openings; 
the  smaller  window  is  of  a  similar  character,  but  consists  of 
two  lights  only,  with  a  single  foliated  arch  above  them.  An 
archway,  widely  splayed,  on  the  western  side,  opens  into  the 
transept,  and  another  archway  opens  into  the  choir  aisle ; 
this  has  a  panelled  pier,  standing  a  little  apart  from  the  eastern 
side,  designed  to  support  the  arch,  which  probably  was  found 
to  be  giving  way.  The  shafts  along  the  eastern  wall,  the 
capitals  of  one  of  which  is  carved  with  a  number  of  heads 
said  to  represent  the  twelve  apostles,  should  be  noticed  ;  the 
vaulting  ribs  are  also  interesting,  especially  the  joggled  ribs 
seen  over  the  window.  A  stone  altar  stood  in  one  of  these 
chantries  until  1780.  These  chapels  are  sadly  disfigured  by  a 
mean  staircase  which  leads  into  the  transept  gallery ;  it  is 
devoutly  to  be  hoped  that  before  long  this  may  be  removed, 
and  the  exquisite  beauty  of  the  chapels  seen  without  any 
inharmonious  and  irritating  feature  such  as  this  staircase 
undoubtedly  is.  Below  the  transept  is  an  Early  Norman 
crypt ;  it  is  thought  by  some,  from  the  rudeness  of  the  work, 
that  it  may  be  of  earlier  date  than  the  existing  church,  and 
that    it    belonged    to    the    original   church    which    Flambard 


THE   NORTH    AISLE    OF    NAVE. 


104  CHRISTCHURCH    PRIORY 

destroyed  to  make  room  for  his  more  splendid  edifice.  In  it 
were  discovered  a  number  of  human  bones,  which  were  re- 
interred  in  the  churchyard.  It  has  a  plain  barrel  roof,  divided 
by  broad  flat  arches  rising  from  pilasters. 

It  has  often  been  debated  whether  or  not  the  church  ever 
possessed  a  central  tower.  There  is  no  documentary  evidence 
bearing  on  the  question.  It  may  be  said  that  if  a  tower 
existed  and  fell,  or  was  pulled  down  for  any  reason,  some 
record  would  have  remained;  but  the  records  connected 
with  the  building  are  fragmentary,  and  it  by  no  means  follows 
that  the  absence  of  record  proves  the  non-existence  of  such 
a  tower.  In  the  case  of  Wimborne  Minster  the  church- 
warden's accounts  contain  no  record  of  the  building  or  of  the 
fall  of  the  spire,  yet  we  know  from  outside  testimony  that 
such  a  spire  did  fall  in  1600,  and  that  a  representation  of  it 
occurs  on  a  seal.  So  here  at  Christchurch  a  seal  is  in  ex- 
istence on  which  the  church  is  represented  with  a  central 
tower  of  two  storeys,  the  lower  plain,  the  upper  lighted  by 
two  round-headed  windows  and  capped  by  a  low  pyramidal 
spire  or  roof  with  a  tall  cross  on  the  summit.  This  is 
exactly  what  one  would  expect  to  find  :  a  central  tower 
is  almost  always  found  in  Norman  churches,  especially 
collegiate  churches ;  and  the  pyramidal  roof  was  almost 
certainly  the  usual  form  in  which  these  early  towers  were 
finished.  The  battlemented  parapets  which  we  so  often 
meet  with  in  Norman  towers  are  in  all  cases  more  recent 
additions.  Moreover,  the  massive  arches  and  piers  at  the 
corners  indicate  that  a  tower  was  contemplated,  even  if  it 
were  never  built.  In  the  east  gable  of  the  nave  as  it  at 
present  exists,  two  round-headed  windows  may  be  seen.  It 
is  highly  probable  that  this  gable  once  formed  part  of  the  east 
wall  of  the  tower,  and  when  the  tower  was  removed  this 
wall  was  converted  into  a  gable.  Everything  to  the  east 
of  the  crossing  being  of  late  fourteenth  or  early  fifteenth 
century  date,  indicates  that  extensive  alterations  were  made 
at  that  time ;  and  if  a  tower  and  spire  had  previously 
existed,  it  must  have  been  removed  before  this  date.  In 
the  centre  of  the  carving  over  the  doorway  leading  into 
the  Draper  chantry,  dated  1529,  there  is  a  representation 
of  a  church  with  a  central  tower  and  spire.  Of  course, 
no  such  steeple  existed  at  the  time  this  chantry  was  built. 


THE   INTERIOR 


loS 


but  it  may  have  been  a  copy  of  some  then  existing  repre- 
sentation of  the  building  as  it  had  appeared  in  former  times. 
There  are  also  two  other  carvings  of  angels  carrying  a  model 
of  a  church  with  a  central  tower — one  near  the  Salisbury 
chantry,  one  on  the  choir  roof. 

The  nave  is  divided  from  the  choir  by  a  splendid  rood 
screen  i6  feet  6  inches  high,  33  feet  long,  and  9  feet  thick. 
The    western    face    of   this    projects    beyond    the    line  join- 


THE   CRYPT. 


ing  the  east  walls  of  the  two  transepts  ;  its  eastern  face 
rests  against  the  eastern  piers  intended  to  support  the 
central  tower.  It  was  extensively  restored  by  Mr  Ferrey 
in  1848,  who  considered  that  it  may  have  been  removed 
from  some  conventual  church  after  the  dissolution  of 
the  monasteries  in  the  time  of  Henry  VIII.  and  re-erected 
here.  But  there  does  not  seem  to  be  any  real  grounds  for 
supposing  that  it  was  not  expressly  built  for  this  church. 
Its  character  indicates  a  date  somewhat  late  in  the  fourteenth 
century.     In  the  centre  is  a  narrow  doorway  and  a  passage 


io6  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

into  the  choir ;  from  the  north  side  of  this  passage  a  flight 
of  steps  leads  to  the  top  of  the  loft.  The  base  of  the  screen 
is  plain  ;  above  this  is  a  row  of  thirteen  panelled  quatrefoils 
on  each  side  of  the  doorway — each  containing  a  plain  shield, 
over  these  a  string  course,  then  two  rows  of  canopied  niches, 
the  upper  row  consisting  of  twelve,  the  lower,  owing  to  the 
doorway  occupying  the  central  space,  of  only  ten.  The 
lower  niches  have  pedestals,  each  formed  of  four  short 
columns  with  detached  bases  but  with  large  capitals,  which 
meet  one  another  above ;  these  capitals  are  richly  carved 
with  foliage.  No  doubt,  on  the  level  space  thus  formed 
statues  at  one  time  stood.  Woodwork  screens  with  glazed 
doors  and  panels,  made  from  an  oak  screen  which  formerly 
was  placed  across  the  south  transept,  run  across  the  western 
ends  of  the  choir  aisles,  so  that  when  the  doors  of  these  and 
of  the  rood  screen  are  locked,  the  eastern  arm  of  the  cross  is 
entirely  shut  off  from  the  rest  of  the  church. 

The  Choir  is  entirely  Perpendicular  in  character,  and  it 
seems  to  have  been  begun  in  the  time  of  Henry  VI.  but 
not  to  have  been  completed  until  the  time  of  Henry  VII., 
and  some  of  the  carving  of  the  stalls  is  of  still  later  date. 
Leland  says  of  it,  "  Baldwin,  Earl  of  Devon,  was  the  first 
founder,  and  his  successors  to  the  time  of  Isabella  de 
Fortibus,*  and  at  present  the  Earls  of  Salisbury  are  re- 
garded as  founders."  Four  large  clerestory  windows  on 
either  side  light  the  choir.  The  wall  beneath  these  is 
continued  downwards  to  the  floor,  but  under  each  window 
a  low  obtusely-pointed  depressed  archway  is  cut  leading  into 
the  aisles.  Between  the  bottom  of  each  clerestory  window 
and  the  heads  of  these  arches  the  wall  is  panelled  as  with 
window  mullions  and  tracery,  so  that  the  appearance  from 
the  inner  side  may  be  best  understood  by  imagining  that 
each  window  extended  from  floor  to  roof,  but  that  the  upper 
part  alone  is  glazed,  the  lower  cut  away  for  the  arch  lead- 
ing into  the  aisle,  and  the  lower  lights  beneath  the  transom 
blocked  up  with  masonry.  These  lower  arches  are  more 
or  less  blocked  up.  The  Salisbury  chapel  blocks  up  the 
north-eastern  one  completely ;  the  sedilia,  no  doubt,  occupied 
the  opposite  one,  where  now  a   modern  altar  tomb  may  be 

*  She  lived  in  the  latter  half  of  the  thirteenth  centurj'. 


THE   ROOD    bCREEN. 


io8 


CHRISTCHURCH    PRIORY 


Stall  Seat. 

(Date  about  1200.) 

South  Side. 


seen.  The  next  on  each  side  to  the  west  is  open,  and  flights 
of  steps  under  them  lead  down  to  the  aisles ;  the  woodwork 
at  the   back   of  the   choir  stalls  close  the   remaining   two  on 

the   inside,    and   on    the   outside   chantry 
chapels,  opening  one  into  the    north    one 
into  the  south  aisle,  stand  under  the  second 
arch  on  each  side  counting  from  the  rood 
screen.     The  upper  stalls  number   in  all 
thirty-six,   fifteen  on   either    side,   and   six 
with  their  backs  to  the  rood  screen.     There 
is,  also,  a  lower  range  of  stalls  on  the  north 
and   south.      The  prior's   and   sub-prior's 
stalls  on    either  side  the   doorway  in  the 
screen  looking  east  are  canopied,  as  also 
is  the  precentor's  at  the  east  end  of  the 
south  side.      The   arms   of  the  stalls  are 
quaintly    carved     with    various    grotesque 
figures,  as  are  also  the  misereres  ;  the  upper 
parts  of  the  panels  behind  the  upper  stalls 
are  also  carved  in  low  relief;   above  these 
is    a    projecting    cornice    decorated    with 
pinnacles.      The  stalls  are  late  Perpendi- 
cular work,    the   wainscoting   behind    the 
stalls  being  later  still,  as  we  can  see  from 
the  subjects  carved  on  the  upper  part  of 
each  panel.      Some  of  the  misereres  are, 
however,    very   old  —  one   dates   back    to 
about    1 200,  another   to   1300,   others  are 
of  later  date,   and  most  of  them    belong 
to  the  same  period  as  the  stalls.     The  older 
ones  were  found  lying  about  in  the  lumber 
of  the  church,  and  have  been   placed  in 
t  recent  years  in  some  of  the  stalls  the  seats 

R  of  which  had  been  lost  or  stolen.      The 

older   seats    may   have    belonged    to   the 
Stall  Seat.  Original    Norman     choir.      As    the    term 

North  Side.  ,,  miscrere "   may   not   be   understood    by 

all  our  readers,  it  may  be  well  to  quote  from  Parker's 
"Glossary  of  Architecture"  the  following  description: — 
"  Miserere,  Misericorde,  Patience,  or  Pretella,  is  the  projecting 
bracket  on  the  under-side  of  the  seats  of  stalls  in  churches  : 


Stall  Seat. 
North  Side. 


m 


k'5*s<'5^ 


CHOIR    STALLS. 


no 


CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 


these,  where  perfect,  are  fixed  with  hinges  so  that  they  may 
be  turned  up,  and  when  this  is  done  the  projection  of  the 
miserere  is  sufficient,  without  actually  forming  a  seat,  to  afford 
very  considerable  rest  to  any  one  leaning  upon  it.  They  were 
allowed  as  a  relief  to  the  infirm  during  the  long  services  that 
were  required  to  be  performed  by  ecclesiastics  in  a  standing 


MISERERE    ON  STALL   SEAT.      {Circa  1300.) 


posture.  They  are  always  more  or  less  ornamented  with 
carvings  of  leaves,  small  figures,  animals,  etc.,  which  are 
generally  very  boldly  cut.  Examples  are  to  be  found  in 
almost  all  ancient  churches  which  retain  any  of  the  ancient 
stalls — one  of  the  oldest  remaining  specimens  is  in  Henry 
VII. 's  Chapel  at  Westminster ;  it  is  in  the  style  of  the 
thirteenth  century."  When  Parker  wrote  the  last  sentence 
the  still  older  miserere  now  to  be  seen  at  Christchurch  had 
not  been  discovered — this  is  the  earliest  known  specimen. 

It  is  curious  to  notice  the  absence  of  reverence  on  the  part 
of  the  mediaeval  canons,  according  to  our  modern  notions,  that 


THE   CHOIR. 


112  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

these  quaint  carvings  indicate.  One  might  have  expected 
that  inside  the  church  the  subjects  would  have  always  been 
of  a  sacred  nature,  rude  perhaps,  and  grotesque  from  their 
rudeness.  Such  carvings  are  found  in  many  places,  but  here 
at  Christchurch  we  have  satirical  subjects,  caricatures  of  con- 
temporaries, some  indeed  of  so  objectionable  a  character  that 
they  have  been  removed  of  late  years.  A  few  examples  of 
these  carvings  will  be  given.  On  the  arm  of  one  of  the  stalls 
a  fox  is  represented  preaching  to  a  flock  of  geese,  a  cock  acting 
as  clerk.  On  one  of  the  misereres  we  have  a  pair  of  devils 
somewhat  resembling  monkeys  tempting  an  angel,  a  goose 
bringing  an  offering  on  a  plate  to  a  quaint  figure,  a  man  with 
a  hatchet  employed  in  carving,  a  man  with  a  hole  in  the  back 
of  his  garments  fastened  with  a  pin,  besides  various  animals, 
fishes,  mermaids,  and  monsters.  On  the  wainscoting  we  have 
the  heads  of  Henry  VII.,  Henry  VIII.,  Catharine  of  Aragon, 
Anne  Boleyn,  Cardinal  Campeggio,  the  King  of  Scots,  and  the 
Duchess  of  Burgundy,  who  assisted  Perkin  Warbeck  in  his 
attempt  to  gain  the  crown  of  England,  and  two  canons  dis- 
puting over  a  cup,  which  is  placed  between  their  faces.  This 
last  carving  probably  has  some  reference  to  the  granting  of 
the  cup  to  the  laity  in  time  of  Henry  VIII. 

The  vaulting  of  the  choir  is  of  a  somewhat  unusual  character  : 
the  pendants  are  especially  worthy  of  notice.  It  is  difficult  to 
describe  the  manner  in  which  they  are  placed,  but  the  illustra- 
tion shows  their  character  and  position.  The  short  connecting 
ribs  of  the  vaulting  form  a  stellated  cross  over  the  presbytery. 
Some  colour  may  still  be  seen  on  the  carved  work  of  this 
portion  of  the  church,  and  the  initials  of  William  Eyre,  prior 
1502-1520,  af)pear  on  the  bosses. 

The  east  wall  of  the  presbytery  contains  no  window,  but  is 
occupied  by  a  beautiful  stone  reredos  carved  with  a  representa- 
tion of  the  tree  of  Jesse.  It  is  divided  into  three  tiers  with  five 
compartments  in  each,  the  central  one  wider  than  the  two  on 
either  side;  the  space  above  it  and  beneath  the  vaulting  is 
occupied  by  a  wall,  in  which  a  doorway  now  blocked  up  may 
be  seen.  The  outer  compartments  of  the  lowest  tier  contain 
doors  leading  to  a  platform  behind  the  reredos ;  between  them 
stands  an  oak  altar,  the  gift  of  A.  N.  Welby  Pugin  in  1831. 
Above  the  altar  in  the  central  compartment  Jesse  lies  asleep, 
on  the  left  hand  David  plays  upon  his  harp,  on  the  right  sits 


THE  REREDOS. 


H 


114  CHRISTCHURCH  PRIORY 

Solomon  deeply  meditating.  Above  Jesse  we  have  in  one 
carving  an  amalgamated  representation  of  the  birth  of  Christ 
and  the  visit  of  the  Wise  Men.  On  the  left  hand  sits  the  Virgin 
Mary  with  her  Child,  fully  clothed  in  a  long  garment,  not 
wrapped  in  swaddling  clothes,  standing  in  her  lap ;  behind  her 
stands  a  man,  probably  Joseph ;  and  before  her  kneels  one  of 
the  Wise  Men  offering  his  gift  of  gold  in  the  form  of  a  plain 
tankard ;  on  the  right  behind  him  stand  his  two  fellows,  one 
carrying  a  pot  of  myrrh,  the  other  a  boat-shaped  vessel,  prob- 
ably intended  for  a  censer  containing  frankincense.  On  a 
bracket  above  the  head  of  the  kneeling  Wise  Man,  the 
shepherds  kneel  in  adoration ;  nor  are  the  flocks  that  they 
were  tending  forgotten,  for  several  sheep  may  be  seen  on  a 
hill-top  above  their  heads.  Thirty-two  small  figures  may  be 
counted  in  niches  in  the  buttresses  dividing  the  compartments  ; 
crockets,  finials,  and  pinnacles  decorate  the  various  canopies 
over  the  carvings.  This  reredos  is  apparently  of  late  Decor- 
ated date,  and  therefore  earlier  than  the  fifteenth-century  choir. 
Possibly  it  was  an  addition  to  the  Norman  choir  before  this 
was  removed  to  make  room  for  the  existing  one.  Mr  Ferrey 
was  of  opinion  that  it  may  have  once  stood  across  the  nave 
between  the  second  piers  from  the  east,  thus  forming  a 
reredos  for  the  western  part  of  the  nave,  which  was  used 
as  the  church  of  the  parish.  Below  the  presbytery  is  a 
Norman  crypt,  now  converted  into  a  vault  for  the  Malmes- 
bury  family.  It  has  already  been  mentioned  that  there 
are  doors  on  either  side  of  the  altar,  leading  to  a  kind  of 
gallery  or  platform  behind  the  reredos ;  these  were  designed  to 
allow  certain  ceremonial  compassings  of  the  altar,  and  it  is 
possible  that  steps  led  down  from  the  platform  to  the  ambula- 
tory. On  the  east  side  of  these  doorways  there  are  corbel 
heads  under  the  arches,  and  the  walls  of  the  platform  are 
panelled.  Within  the  altar  rails  is  a  slab  bearing  the  name  of 
Baldwin  IV.,  the  seventh  Earl  of  Devon.  On  the  south  side 
is  the  monument  of  Lady  Fitzharris,  who  died  in  1815  ;  it  is  a 
statue  by  Flaxman  representing  the  Lady  teaching  her  two  sons 
from  the  Bible.  Farther  to  the  east  is  the  altar  tomb  of  the 
Countess  of  Malmesbury,  who  died  in  1877,  occupying  the 
place  of  the  sedilia ;  and  on  the  north  the  exquisite  chantry  of 
Margaret,  Countess  of  Salisbury,  the  last  bearer  of  the  royal 
name  of  Plantagenet,  whose  tragic  fate  and  horrible  execution 


THE  SALISBURY   CHANTRV. 


ii6  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

is  one  of  the  foulest  stains  on  the  memory  of  Henry  VIII. 
She  was  the  daughter  of  "false,  fleeting,  perjured  Clarence" 
and  of  the  kingmaker's  eldest  daughter  Isabella,  and  was 
mother  of  the  celebrated  Reginald  Pole  who,  being  ordained 
deacon  at  the  age  of  sixteen,  was  appointed  Dean  of  \Vim- 
borne  a  year  later,  and  rose  in  time  to  the  high  rank  of 
Cardinal-Archbishop  of  Canterbury,  and  played  an  important 
part  in  history  in  the  reigns  of  Henry  VIII.  and  Mary.  She 
erected  this  lovely  chantry  as  her  last  resting-place,  wishing  to 
lie  after  her  troublous  life  in  this  quiet  spot,  but  it  was  not  so  to 
be.  Her  son,  by  the  publication  on  the  Continent  of  a  violent 
attack  on  Henry  VIII.,  incensed  the  king  to  such  an  extent 
that  he  laid  his  hands  on  all  the  kindred  of  the  Poles  he 
could  find  in  England ;  some  were  tried  and  executed,  others 
attainted  without  trial,  among  them  the  Countess  of  Salisbury, 
who  was  at  the  time  over  seventy  years  of  age.  She  refused 
to  lay  her  head  upon  the  block,  and  the  headsman  hacked  at 
her  neck  as  she  stood  erect ;  her  body  was  not  allowed  to  be 
buried  in  the  chantry  which  she  had  erected  for  herself,—  so  far 
did  the  spite  of  Henry  go, — but  she  lies  among  the  ambitious 
and  unfortunate,  the  aspiring,  and  unsuccessful  of  many  a  sect 
and  party  in  the  cemetery  of  St  Peter's  Chapel  in  the  Tower. 
Hers  was  an  ill-starred  race.  Her  grandfather  was  slain  at 
Barnet,  147 1  ;  her  father  murdered  by  his  brother  Edward  IV., 
1478;  her  own  brother,  the  Earl  of  Warwick,  imprisoned  by 
Henry  VII.,  and  subsequently  beheaded  on  Tower  Hill,  1499; 
her  eldest  son.  Lord  Montagu,  was  executed  for  high  treason  ; 
and  Margaret  herself  met  a  like  fate  on  May  27,  1541. 

Her  chantry  is  built  of  Caen  stone,  and  the  decoration  is 
of  Renaissance  character.  It  is  conjectured  to  be  the  work  of 
the  Florentine  sculptor  Pietro  Torrigiano,  who  died  in  the 
prison  of  the  Inquisition  in  wSpain  in  1522.  He  was  engaged 
on  Henry  VII. 's  tomb  in  Westminster,  and  other  works  ordered 
by  Henry  VIII.  at  Westminster  and  Windsor,  from  1509  till 
151 7;  and  if  this  chantry  at  Christchurch  is  his  design  the 
date  must  lie  between  these  two  years.  Two  four-light 
windows  with  battlemented  transoms  look  out  on  either  side ; 
to  the  west  of  these  two  doorways  lead,  one  to  the  presbytery 
the  other  to  the  north  aisle  ;  on  the  east  wall  are  three  canopied 
niches,  beneath  which  an  altar  stood  or  was  intended  to  stand ; 
the  ceiling  is  richly  carved  with  fan  traceries  and  bosses ;  the 


THE   INTERIOR 


117 


latter  have  been  mutilated — by  order,  it  is  said,  of  Henry  VIII. 
A  letter  from  the  King's  Commissioner  thus  describes  the  work 
done  : — "In  thys  churche  we  founde  a  chaple  and  a  monumet 


INTERIOR    OF   THE   SALISBURY   CHANTRY. 


curiosly  made  of  cane  stone  p''pared  by  the  late  mother  of 
Raynolde  Pole  for  herre  buriall,  which  we  have  causyd  to  be 
defaced  and  all  the  Armis  and   Badgis  to  be  delete."      On 


ii8  CHRISTCHURCH    PRIORY 

the  north  side  are  twelve  tabernacles.  This  chapel  stands 
on  a  richly  carved  panelled  basement,  and  all  the  walls  are 
covered  with  minute  carving ;  but  here,  as  elsewhere,  in  late 
work  we  find  the  same  forms  repeated  again  and  again,  and  we 
miss  that  wealth  of  fancy  which  gives  each  boss  or  capital 
carved  by  the  earlier  workers  such  a  life  and  individuality. 
The  side  of  this  chapel  that  faces  the  north  aisle  is  more 
elaborate  than  that  facing  the  choir,  and  is  necessarily  more 
lofty,  as  its  base  rests  on  the  floor  of  the  aisle,  which  is  lower 
than  the  floor  of  the  presbytery.  On  the  west  face  is  one  of 
several  memorial  tablets  to  members  of  the  Rose  family,  who 
are  buried  in  this  aisle. 

In  the  north  choir  aisle,  at  the  western  end,  may  be  seen 
a  kind  of  small  museum  of  fragments  from  various  parts  of  the 
church,  collected  at  the  time  of  the  restoration,  among  them 
some  bosses  from  the  vaulting  of  the  south  transept,  destroyed 
about  a  hundred  years  ago,  and  an  octagonal  Norman  font. 
The  vaulting  of  this  and  the  corresponding  aisle  on  the  south 
side  is  of  the  same  character  as  that  of  the  choir,  but  is  some- 
what plainer,  and  is  not  decorated  with  crosses  or  pendants. 
On  the  south  side  of  this  aisle  is  a  late  Perpendicular  chantry, 
the  origin  of  which  is  not  known  ;  on  its  flat  ceiling  are  painted 
two  large  roses,  one  white,  one  red  ;  it  contains  two  brackets 
for  cruets ;  over  the  entrance  to  it  is  placed  an  oval  memorial 
tablet  to  one  John  Cook,  who  died  in  1787.  Eastward  of 
this  is  the  Salisbury  chapel  already  described.  A  chantry  is 
formed  at  the  eastern  end  of  the  aisle  by  the  western  end 
of  the  north  wall  of  the  Lady  Chapel.  It  contains  an  altar 
tomb  with  the  recumbent  figures  of  Sir  John  Chidioke,  a 
Dorset  knight  slain  in  1449  in  the  Wars  of  the  Roses,  and 
his  wife.  This  monument  has  occupied  its  present  position 
only  from  1791, — it  previously  stood  in  the  north  transept. 

The  east  end  of  the  south  choir  aisle  is  occupied  by  the 
chantry  chapel  of  John  Draper  II.,  the  last  of  the  priors  and 
titular  bishop  of  Neapolis  in  Palestine,  near  the  ancient  Shechem 
in  Samaria ;  it  is  dated  1529,  and  is  formed  by  a  screen  of  Caen 
stone  stretching  across  the  aisle.  There  is  a  central  doorway 
with  a  depressed  arch  at  the  top,  and  canopied  niches  over 
it,  and  on  either  side  are  two  transomed  four-light  unglazed 
windows  under  arches  of  the  same  characters  as  that  over 
the  doorway  ;  along  the  top  of  the  screen  runs  a  battlemented 


THE    DRAPER    CHANTRY. 


120 


CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 


parapet.  Within  the  chantry,  on  the  south  wall,  is  a  very 
beautiful  piscina,  the  finest  in  the  church.  Just  outside  the 
screen  is  a  square-headed  doorway.  Along  the  south  wall 
of  this  aisle,  as  along  the  north  wall  of  the  corresponding 
north  aisle,  a  stone  bench-table  runs.  On  the  north  side 
the  panelled  wall  on  which  the  Countess  of  Malmesbury's 
altar  tomb  stands   is  decorated  with  carvings  of  angels ;  the 

largest  of  these  holds  a  shield  with 
a  death's-head.  Farther  to  the  west, 
beyond  the  steps  leading  down  from 
the  choir,  is  a  Perpendicular  chantry, 
known  as  the  Harys  chantry ;  it  has 
open  tracery  above  cusped  panels, 
canopied  niches,  and  a  panelled  bench 
table.  Robert  Harys  was  rector  of 
Shrowston,  and  died  in  1525  ;  his  rebus, 
a  hare  under  the  letter  R,  may  be  seen 
on  the  panels.  On  the  opposite  side 
of  the  aisle  is  the  doorway  leading 
into  what  is  known  as  the  sacristy. 
This  is  a  thirteenth-century  addition  to 
the  church,  and  is  of  irregular  shape, 
as  it  is  wedged  in,  as  it  were,  between 
the  apsidal  chapel  on  the  east  side  of 
the  transept  and  the  south  wall  of  the 
choir  aisle.  In  the  south  wall  are 
triple  sedilia  with  Purbeck  shafts  and 
foliated  heads ;  in  the  north  wall  is  a 
square  opening  or  squint. 
Behind  the  reredos  is  an  ambulatory  or  processional  path ; 
from  this  may  be  seen,  over  the  archway  leading  into  the 
south  aisle,  the  end  of  the  "miraculous  beam,"  lengthened, 
according  to  the  legend,  by  Christ,  when  He  appeared  as 
a  workman  and  took  part  in  the  building  of  the  original 
church.  How  this  came  to  be  preserved,  and  how  it  came 
to  occupy  a  position  amidst  the  latest  work  in  the  church, 
is  not  recorded.  The  Lady  Chapel  is  very  beautiful  Per- 
pendicular work;  it  had  its  own  altar  and  reredos  under 
the  east  window\  The  reredos  is  much  mutilated,  but 
besides  the  part  that  is  still  attached  to  the  wall,  there  are 
many  loose  fragments  now  set  up  on    the  altar.      This   is  a 


Piscina  in  the  Draper 
Chantry. 


THE  SACRISTY. 


122 


CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 


slab  of  Purbeck  stone,  ii  ft.  in  length  and  3  ft.  10  ins 
in  breadth.  On  the  north  and  south  sides  of  the  altar 
are  the  tombs  of  Thomas,  Lord  West,  and  Lady  Alice  West, 
his  mother.  These  tombs  are  of  Purbeck  marble  and  of  a 
form  by  no  means  uncommon  in  the  churches  of  Wessex. 
The  ten  shafts   supporting   the  canopy  of  the  tomb   on  the 

north  still  remain  ;  from 
the  other  tomb  such 
shafts  as  it  had  have 
disappeared.  Thomas, 
Lord  West,  died  in 
1406,  his  mother  in 
1395  :  these  dates  fix 
within  reasonable  limits 
the  date  of  the  building 
of  the  Lady  Chapel. 
Thomas  West,  in  his 
will,  directs  that  his 
body  should  be  buried 
in  the  '■'' Nezv  Chapel 
of  Our  Lady  in  the 
Mynster  of  Christ- 
church."  It  is  note- 
worthy to  remark  that ' 
the  original  arcading  is 
cut  away  to  make  room 
for  this  monument,  so 
that  the  chapel  had 
been  finished  before 
he  died.  Both  Sir 
Thomas  West  and  his 
mother  were  benefac- 
tors to  the  church. 
Besides  other  bequests 
of  money  towards  the  building  fund  and  for  perpetual 
masses,  each  of  them  gave  about  ;!^i8  for  the  singing 
of  4500  masses  within  six  months  of  the  day  of  their 
deaths.  On  the  south  side  of  the  chapel  is  the  original 
doorway  leading  into  the  canons'  burial-ground  ;  a  correspond- 
ing door  is  to  be  seen  on  the  north  side.  The  splays  of 
the  arches  of  the  windows  are   elaborately  ornamented  with 


The  Miraculous  Beam. 


H 

CO 

X 

O 


72 

o 

X 


O 


*5 
O 


124 


CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 


panelling.     The  arcading  under  the  window,  a  series  of  ogee 
arches,    is   worthy   of  notice.      The   tattered   colours   of  the 


THE    LADY    CHAPEL. 


"Loyal  Christchurch  Volunteers,"  one  of  the  earliest  regi- 
ments of  volunteers,  which  was  enrolled  in  1793,  hang  at  the 
entrance  to  the  Lady  Chapel.     The  vaulting  is  of  the  same 


O 

X 

J 
w 
< 

X 

u 


126  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

character  as  that  of  the  choir,  with  curious  pendants  in  the 
form  of  church  lanterns. 

St  Michael's  Loft  is  reached  by  long  flights  of  steps 
running  up  the  turrets  described  in  the  last  chapter.  It  is  a 
plain,  low  room  with  a  low-pitched  tie-beam  roof  of  oak.  It  was 
once  a  chapel,  as  the  piscina  in  the  east  wall  clearly  shows. 
The  site  of  the  altar  is  now  occupied  by  a  disused  desk  of 
the  character  familiar  to  us  in  our  own  school  days  some 
half-a-century  ago ;  it  is  a  sort  of  pew  with  doors,  within 
which  the  master  sat  enthroned  and  ramparted.  This  room 
was  used  as  a  public  grammar  school  from  1662  till  1828, 
and  subsequently  as  a  private  school,  which  was  finally 
closed  in  1869.  The  boys  went  to  this  school  and  returned 
from  it  by  the  staircase  on  the  north  side  which  has  an 
entrance  from  the  churchyard  ;  the  stairs  on  the  south  side 
were  used  when  anyone  had  occasion  to  go  into  the  church 
or  to  go  from  it  to  the  room  above. 

An  upper  chamber  or  chapel  is  an  uncommon  feature  in 
England.  Remains  of  staircases  give  rise  to  the  conjecture 
that  there  was  a  similar  chapel  over  the  Lady  Chapel  at 
Chester,  and  somewhat  similar  erections  are  to  be  met  with 
on  the  Continent ;  but  Christchurch  Priory  is  unique  in 
possessing  such  a  perfect  specimen.  The  dedication  of  the 
upper  storey  to  St  Michael,  the  conductor  of  souls  to  Paradise, 
is  appropriate.  Churches  built  in  elevated  positions  were 
frequently  dedicated  to  him,  and  few  if  any  medi?eval 
churches  dedicated  to  this  archangel  are  to  be  met  with  on 
low-lying  ground. 

Under  the.  western  tower  stands  a  modern  font.  The 
fragments  of  a  Norman  font,  with  carvings  representing  various 
incidents  in  the  life  of  Christ,  may  be  seen,  preserved  in  the 
north  choir  aisle.  The  fifteenth-century  successor  has  been 
removed  to  Bransgore  Church,  four  miles  off. 

Against  the  north  wall  of  the  tower  stands  the  monument 
of  the  poet  Shelley,  the  work  of  the  sculptor  Weekes.  Needless 
to  say,  it  is  but  a  cenotaph.  The  "heart  of  hearts,"  "Cor 
Cordium,"  and  the  ashes  of  the  poet  cremated  on  the  Tuscan 
shore,  lie  far  away,  hard  by  the  pyramid  of  Caius  Cestius, 
in  the  grave  where  the  loving  hands  of  Trelawney  laid  them 
in  1823.  Here  we  have  an  ideal  representation  of  the  finding 
of  the  drowned  body — not  a  pleasing  one,  but  less  ghastly 


THE    INTERIOR  127 

than  the  reaUty ;  and  below  the  inscription  which  tells  his 
name  and  the  number  of  his  years  and  the  manner  of  his  death, 
the  following  stanza  from  his  own  "  Adonais  "  may  be  read  :  — 

"  He  hath  out-soared  the  shadow  of  our  night  : 
Envy  and  cakimny  and  hate  and  pain, 
And  that  unrest  v/hich  men  miscall  delight, 
Can  touch  him  not  and  torture  not  again  ; 
From  the  contagion  of  the  world's  slow  stain 
He  is  secure,  and  now  can  never  mourn 
A  heart  grown  cold,  a  head  grown  grey  in  vain. 
Nor,  when  the  spirit's  self  has  ceased  to  burn 
With  sparkless  ashes  load  an  unlamented  urn." 

The  choice  of  Christchurch  Priory  as  the  site  for  this 
monimient  was  due  to  the  fact  that  the  poet's  son,  Sir  Percy 
Florence  Shelley,  who  erected  it,  lived  at  Boscombe  Manor, 
between  Christchurch  and  Bournemouth. 

The  tower  contains  a  peal  of  eight  bells.  These  are  all 
old;  the  fifth  and  sixth  bells  have  fourteenth-century  inscriptions 
round  their  crowns,  the  others  appear  to  have  been  cast  early 
in  the  fifteenth  century. 


CHAPTER  IV 

DEANS    OF   THE    SECULAR    COLLEGE 

1.  Ralf  Flambard,  afterwards  Bishop  of  Durham. 

2.  Godric,  1099. 

3.  Gilbert  de  Dousgunels,  iioo. 

4.  Peter  de  Oglander. 

5.  Randulphus. 

6.  Hilary,  afterwards  Bishop  of  Chichester. 

PRIORS    OF    THE    AUGITSTINL\N    COLLEGE 

1.  Reginald,  1150. 

2.  Ralph. 

3.  Peter,   1195.     He  built  the  clerestory  and  carried  out 

Other  Early  English  work. 

4.  Roger,  1225. 

5.  Richard. 

6.  Nicholas  de  Wareham. 

7.  Nicholas  de  Sturminster.  " 

8.  John  de  Abingdon,  1272. 

9.  William  de  Netheravon,  1278. 

10.  Richard  Maury,  1286. 

11.  William  Quenton,  1302. 

12.  Walter  Tholveshide,  131 7. 

13.  Edmund  de  Ramsbury,  1323.     Durmg  his  time  Bishop 
Stratford's  Injunctions  were  issued,  1325.     See  page  129. 

14.  Richard  de  Queteshorne,  1337. 

15.  Robert  de  Leyghe,  1340. 

16.  William  Tyrewache,  1345- 

17.  Henry  Eyre,  1357.     He  became  bhnd  in  1367  and  was 
allowed  a  coadjutor. 

18.  John  Wodenham,  1376. 

19.  John    Borard,    1398.     During     his    time    Archbishop 

Arundel  issued  Injunctions,  1404.     See  page  130. 

128 


DEANS   OF  THE  SECULAR   COLLEGE         129 

20.  Thomas  Talbot,  141 3. 

21.  John  Wimborne,  1420. 

22.  William  Norton. 

23.  John  Dorchester. 

24.  John  Draper  L,  1477.  Bishop  Langton's  Injunctions 
were  issued  during  his  tenure  of  the  priory. 

25.  \\'illiam  Eyre,  1502.  During  his  time  the  choir  was 
completed. 

26.  John  Draper  IL  He  surrendered  the  priory  to  Henry 
VHL's  commissioners,  1539,  and  was  allowed  to  retain  Somer- 
ford  Grange  for  life,  and  received  a  pension  of  ;!^i33,  6s.  8d. 
He  died  in  1552,  and  was  buried  in  the  nave  near  the  entrance 
to  the  choir. 

VICARS    OF   CHRISTCHURCH 

By  the  council  of  Aries  1 261,  religious  orders  that  held  parish 
churches  were  bound  to  supply  vicars  to  officiate.  These  were 
appointed  by  the  canons,  and  were  taken  from  their  own  body. 

The  names  of  many  of  these  are  known.  The  13th  was 
Robert  Harys,  whose  chantry  stands  in  the  south  choir  aisle ;  he 
died  in  1325.  In  the  time  of  the  15th,  William  Trapnell,  the 
church  was  granted  by  Henry  VIII.  to  the  parishioners,  32nd 
year  of  Henry  VIII.  In  the  time  of  the  1 7th,  Robert  Newman, 
an  inventory  of  the  property  was  made  by  order  of  Edward  VI. 's 
commissioner.  John  Imber,  the  21st  vicar,  was  expelled  by  the 
Parliament  from  1647-1660,  but  was  restored  to  his  prefer- 
ment in  the  same  year  as  Charles  II.  gained  the  throne.  The 
present  vicar  is  the  32  nd. 

Stratford's  injunctions,  1325 

1.  Every  canon  save  the  seneschal  and  cellarer  must 
attend  Matins,  High  Mass,  and  the  Hours.  The  seneschal, 
if  present  in  the  priory  for  two  nights  together,  must  attend 
one  Matins,  and  the  cellarer  must  be  present  at  service  on 
alternate  nights  at  least. 

2.  Six  canons  must  be  enrolled  for  celebrating  Our  Lady's 
Mass ;  the  prior  must  celebrate  on  all  great  feasts  at  High 
Mass,  and  on  Saturdays  at  Our  Lady's  Mass,  and  must  wear 
a  surplice  not  a  rochet. 


I30  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 

3.  Canons  in  priests'  orders  must  celebrate  daily,  those 
who  are  not  must  repeat  eleven  Psalms  with  a  Litany  or 
Psalter  of  Our  Lady  every  day. 

4.  Four  confessors  must  be  appointed  to  hear  the  confessions 
of  the  canons. 

5.  Latin  or  French  must  be  the  languages  spoken. 

6.  No  one  save  the  prior  or  officers,  without  special  leave, 
must  ride  or  leave  the  Priory. 

7.  Two-thirds  of  the  canons  must  dine  daily  in  the  refectory  ; 
the  door  must  be  kept  by  a  secular  watchman  whose  duty  it 
is  to  remove  servants  and  idle  people  from  the  door  during 
dinner ;  the  almoner  must  prevent  any  canon  carrying  his 
commons  to  the  laundry-people  or  people  of  the  town. 

8.  All  the  canons  must  sleep  in  the  dormitory,  each  in  his 
own  bed. 

9.  The  infirmary  must  be  visited  daily  by  the  prior  or 
sub-prior. 

10.  Two  canons  must  act  as  treasurers,  and  a  yearly  account 
must  be  presented. 

11.  The  common  seal  must  be  kept  under  four  locks, 
and  documents  sealed  in  full  chapter,  not  as  heretofore  during 
Mass. 

12.  Canons  must  not  play  at  chess  or  draughts,  nor  keep 
hounds  or  arms  (save  in  the  custody  of  the  prior),  nor  have 
a  servant  (save  when  on  a  journey),  nor  write  nor  receive 
letters  without  leave.  The  prior  may  keep  hounds  outside 
the  priory  buildings. 

ARCHBISHOP  Arundel's  injunctions,  1404 

No.  I.  Ordered  the  destruction  of  an  old  hall  and  an  adjoin- 
ing chamber  known  as  the  sub-prior's  hall  after  the  departure 
of  Sir  Thomas  West  its  then  occupier,  as  noblemen  were  in 
the  habit  of  occupying  it  to  the  great  disturbance  of  the  order 
and  the  keeping  open  of  gates  which  ought  to  be  closed. 

No.  2.  Enjoined  the  building  of  a  house  for  the  prcecentor, 
and  a  new  chamber  for  the  sick. 

No.  3.  Ordered  the  setting  apart  of  a  chamber  for  recreation 
apart  from  the  infirmary  (it  may  be  supposed  that  the  canons 
during  recreation  hours  were  noisy,  thereby  disturbing  the 
sick). 


DEANS   OF  THE   SECULAR  COLLEGE         131 

No.  4.  Directed  the  provision  of  separate  studies  for  the 
canons.  It  would  appear  that  nobles,  such  as  the  Montacutes 
and  Wests,  put  the  priory  to  such  great  expense  by  taking  up 
their  abode,  together  with  their  retainers,  in  the  domestic 
part  of  the  buildings. 


THE  NORMAN  CASTLE 

Very  little  of  the  castle  erected  by  Richard  do  Redvers,  who 
died  in  1 137,  remains  ;  but  on  an  artificial  mound  at  no  great 
distance  to  the  north  of  the  Priory  Church  stand  fragments  of 
the  east  and  west  walls  of  the  square  Norman  keep,  about  20 
feet  high  and  10  feet  thick.  The  castle  belonged  to  the  De 
Redvers,  Earls  of  Devon,  till  they  were  alienated  to  the  crown 
in  the  9th  year  of  Edward  I.  (1280),  the  last  earl  having  died 
in  1263,  though  the  last  female  descendant  lived  till  1293.  In 
1 33 1,  Edward  III.  granted  the  castle  and  land  to  William  de 
Montacute,  Earl  of  Salisbury ;  after  the  execution  of  John 
de  Montacute  in  1400  for  the  part  he  took  in  the  plots  against 
the  new  king,  Henry  IV.,  Sir  Thomas  West,  who  lies  buried 
in  the  Lady  Chapel,  was  appointed  constable.  He  died  in 
1405,  then  Thomas,  Earl  of  Salisbury,  held  the  castle  till 
1428.  After  this  it  was  held  by  various  persons,  and  we  find  a 
constable  of  the  Lordship  of  Christchurch  as  late  as  1656.  The 
manor  held  by  the  De  Redvers,  and  then  by  the  Montacutes, 
passed  through  various  hands.  Among  the  holders  we  may 
notice  the  Nevilles,  hence  the  connection  with  the  Priory  of 
the  ill-fated  Margaret,  the  kingmaker's  granddaughter,  who  was 
Countess  of  Salisbury  in  her  own  right,  the  Earl  of  Clarendon, 
Sir  George  Rose,  and  the  present  owner,  the  Earl  of 
Malmesbury,  who  obtained  it  in   1862. 

In  early  days  the  bailiff  of  the  de  Redvers  regulated  all 
markets,  fairs,  tolls,  and  fines,  and  had  the  right  of  preemption 
and  sat  as  judge  in  the  tenants'  court.  Edward  I.  relieved 
the  burgesses  of  Christchurch  from  all  arbitrary  exactions,  and 
established  a  fixed  fee-farm  rent  instead.  The  castle  was 
taken  for  the  Parliament  by  Sir  William  Waller  with  300  men 
on  April  7,  1644. 

A  little  to  the  north-east  of  the  castle  stand  the  remains  of 
one  of  the  few  Norman  houses  that  have  come  down  to  the 
present  time.       It  is    thus  described  in  the  first  volume   of 


i:;2  CHRISTCHURCH   PRIORY 


J 


"  The  Domestic  Architecture  of  the  Middle  Ages  "  by  Turner 
and  Parker,  pp.  38,  39.  This  volume  was  published  in  1851. 
"At  Christchurch,  in  Hampshire,  is  the  ruin  of  a  Norman 
house,  rather  late  in  the  style,  with  good  windows  of  two  lights 
and  a  round  chimney  shaft.*  The  plan,  as  before,  is  a  simple 
oblong ;  the  principal  room  appears  to  have  been  on  the  first 
floor.  It  is  situated  on  the  bank  of  the  river  near  to  the 
church,  and  still  more  close  to  the  mound,  which  is  said 
to  have  been  the  keep  of  the  castle ;  being  between  that  and 
the  river,  it  could  not  well  have  been  placed  in  a  situation 
of  greater  security.  Whether  it  formed  part  of  another  series 
of  buildings  or  not,  it  was  a  perfect  house  in  itself,  and  its 
character  is  strictly  domestic.  It  is  about  seventy  feet  long, 
and  twenty-four  broad,  its  walls,  like  those  of  the  keep,  being 
exceedingly  thick.  On  the  ground  floor  are  a  number  of 
loop-holes :  the  ascent  to  the  upper  storey  was  by  a  stone 
staircase,  part  of  which  remains  ;  the  ground  floor  was  divided 
by  a  wall,  but  the  upper  storey  seems  to  have  been  a  long 
room,  lighted  by  three  double  windows  on  each  side ;  near  the 
centre  of  the  east  wall,  next  the  river,  is  a  large  fireplace, 
to  which  the  round  chimney  before  mentioned  belongs.  At 
the  north  end,  there  appears  to  have  been  a  large  and  hand- 
some window  of  which  part  of  the  arch  and  shafts  remain, 
and  there  is  a  small  circular  window  in  the  south  gable. 
From  what  remains  of  the  ornamental  part  of  this  building,  it 
appears  to  have  been  elegantly  finished  and  cased  with 
squared  stones,  most  of  which  are,  however,  now  taken  away. 
There  is  a  small  projecting  tower,  calculated  for  a  flank,  under 
which  the  water  runs  ;  it  has  loopholes  both  on  the  north  and 
east  fronts,  these  walls  are  extremely  thick.  By  the  ruins  of 
several  walls,  there  were  some  ancient  buildings  at  right  angles 
to  this  hall,  stretching  away  towards  the  keep.  This  was 
probably  part  of  the  residence  of  Baldwin  de  Redvers,  Earl  of 
Devon,  to  whom  the  manor  of  Christchurch  belonged  about 
the  middle  of  the  twelfth  century."t 

This  building  is  much  overgrown  with  ivy,  which  by  a 
comparison  of  the  illustration  given  in  the  work  just  quoted 
with  its  present  condition,  as  represented  in  the  photograph 
here  reproduced,   has  increased  considerably  during  the  last 

*  Since  rebuilt. 

t  Grove's  "Antiquities,"  vol.  ii.  p.  178. 


w 

m 

o 

z; 
< 

OS 

o 

2 

H 

b 
O 

m 
g 

W: 


134 


CHRISTCHURCH    PRIORY 


fifty  years.  It  is  due  to  the  memory  of  the  Rev.  William 
Jackson,  who  was  vicar  of  Christchurch  from  1778  to  1802, 
that  it  should  be  recorded  that  he  saved  this  valuable  relic  of 
Norman  domestic  architecture  from  destruction.  He  was 
evidently  imbued  with  a  spirit  of  love  for  antiquity  by  no 
means  common  a  hundred  years  ago,  and  far  too  rare  even  at 
the  present  day. 

DIMENSIONS    OF    CHRISTCHURCH    PRIORY 


Kxtreme  length 

311 

feet 

, 

Length  of  Nave 

118 

9 

inches 

Width  of  Nave 

58 

5 

>) 

Height  of  Nave 

58 

Length  of  Transept     . 

lOI 

2 

>) 

Width  of  Transept 

24 

4 

)> 

Length  of  Choir 

70 

Width  of  Choir  with  Aisles 

60 

6 

»> 

Height  of  Choir 

63 

Length  of  side  of  Tower,   E. 

'to  W. 

27 

9 

?) 

) »             ))                )  J 

N. 

toS. 

22 

4 

5) 

Height  of  Tower 

120 

Length  of  Lady  Chapel 

36 

4 

)) 

Width  of  Lady  Chapel 

21 

I 

)) 

Length  of  St  Michael's 

Loft 

58 

3 

)» 

Width  of  St  Michael's  Loft 

19 

7 

)> 

Area  . 

18,300  sq. 

feet. 

PLANS 


o 

I— I 

X 
u 

ID 

u 
H 

I— « 

a: 
a: 
o 

o 

12: 

< 

0. 


2-« 


K 


W.    H.    WHITE   AND   CO.    LIMITED 
RIVERSIDE      PRESS,       EDINBURGH 


Bell's  Cathedral  Series. 

EDITED    BY 

GLEESON    WHITE    and    E.    F.    STRANGE. 

In  specially  designed  cloth  cover,  crown  %vo,    is.   6d.   each. 
Now  Ready. 

CANTERBURY.     By  Hartley  Withers.     3rd  Edition,  revised.     37 
Illustrations. 

CHESTER.    By  Charles  HiATT.    2nd  Edition,  revised.    35  Illustrations. 

DURHAM.     By  J.  E.  Bygate,  A.R.C.A.     44  Illustrations. 

EXETP^R.      By  Percy  Addleshaw,  B.A.      35  Illustrations. 

GLOUCESTER.     By  H.  J.   L.  J.   Masse,   M.A.     45  Illustrations. 

HEREFORD.      By  A.   Hugh  Fisher,  A.R.E.      34  Illustrations. 

LICHFIELD.      By  A.  B.  Clifton.      42  Illustrations. 

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OXFORD.      By   Rev.   Percy  Dearmer,  M.A.      2nd  Edition,  revised. 
34  Illustrations. 

PETERBOROUGH.     By  Rev.  W.  D.  Sweeting,  M.A.     2nd  Edition, 
revised.      51  Illustrations. 

ROCHESTER.      By  G.   H.   Palmer,  B.A.      38  Illustrations. 

SALISBURY.     By  Gleeson  White.     2nd  Edition,  revised.     50  Illus- 
trations. 

SOUTHWELL.     By  Rev.  Arthur  Dimock,  M.A.     37  Illustrations. 

WELLS.     By  Rev.  Percy  Dearmer,  M.A.     43  Illustrations. 

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In  Preparation. 


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A.R.I. B.A. 
ELY.     By  T.  D.  Atkinson,  A.R.I. B.A. 
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ST.  PAUL'S.     By  Rev.  Arthur  Dimock, 

M.A. 
BRISTOL.     By  H.  J.  L.  J.  Masse,  M.A. 
CHICHESTER.      By  H.  C.  Corlette, 

A.R.I. B.A. 


ST.      ALBANS.       By      Rev.      W.      D. 

Sweeting,  M.A. 
CARLISLE.     By  C.  K.  Elev. 
RIPON.     By  Cecil  Hallett,  B.A. 
ST.  ASAPH'S  AND  BANGOR.    By  P.  B. 

Ironside  Bax. 
GLASGOW.  By      P.       Macgregor 

Chalmers,  I. A.,  F.S.A.(Scot.). 


U7iifor»i  ivith  aboT'e  Series,  now  Ready. 

ST.   MARTIN'S   CHURCH,  CANTERBURY.     By  the  Rev.  Canon   Routledge. 

BEVERLEY   MINSTER.     By  Charles  Hiatt. 

WIMBORNE  MINSTER  AND  CHRISTCHURCH  PRIORY.     By  the  Rev.  T. 

Perkins. 
TEWKESBURY  ABBEY.       By  H.  J.  L.  J.  Masse,   M.A.  [In  the  Press. 

WESTMINSTER  ABBEY.      By  Charles  Hiatt.  \,Preparing. 

Opinions  of  the  Press. 

"For  the  purpose  at  which  they  aim  they  are  admirably  done,  and 
there  are  few  visitants  to  any  of  our  noble  shrines  who  will  not  enjoy  their 
visit  the  better  for  being  furnished  with  one  of  these  delightful  books, 
which  can  be  slipped  into  the  pocket  and  carried  with  ease,  and  is  yet 
distinct  and  legible.  ...  A  volume  such  as  that  on  Canterbury  is  exactly 
what  we  want,  and  on  our  ne.\t  visit  we  hope  to  have  it  with  us.  It  is 
thoroughly  helpful,  and  the  views  of  the  fair  city  and  its  noble  cathedral 
are  beautiful.  Both  volumes,  moreover,  will  serve  more  than  a  temporary 
purpose,  and  are  trustworthy  as  well  as  delightful." — Notes'and  Queries. 

' '  We  have  so  frequently  in  these  columns  urged  the  want  of  cheap, 


well -illustrated,  and  well -written  liandbooks  to  our  cathedrals,  to  take 
the  place  of  the  out-of-date  publications  of  local  booksellers,  that  we  are 
glad  to  hear  that  they  have  been  taken  in  hand  by  Messrs  George  Hell 
&  Sons." — 5A  James'' s  Gazette. 

"  The  volumes  are  handy  in  size,  moderate  in  price,  well  illustrated,  and 
written  in  a  scholarly  spirit.  The  history  of  cathedral  and  city  is  in- 
telligently set  forth  and  accompanied  by  a  descriptive  survey  of  the 
building  in  all  its  detail.  The  illustrations  are  copious  and  well  selected, 
and  the  series  bids  fair  to  become  an  indispensable  companion  to  the 
cathedral  tourist  in  England." — Times. 

"They  are  nicely  produced  in  good  type,  on  good  paper,  and  contain 
numerous  illustrations,  are  well  written,  and  very  cheap.  We  should 
imagine  architects  and  students  of  architecture  will  be  sure  to  buy  the 
series  as  they  appear,  for  they  contain  in  brief  much  valuable  information." 
— British  Architect. 

"  Half  the  charm  of  this  little  book  on  Canterbury  springs  from  the 
writer's  recognition  of  the  historical  association  of  so  majestic  a  building 
with  the  fortunes,  destinies,  and  habits  of  the  English  people.  .  .  .  One 
admirable  feature  of  the  book  is  its  artistic  illustrations.  They  are 
both  lavish  and  satisfactory — even  when  regarded  with  critical  eyes." — 
Speaker. 

"There  is  likely  to  be  a  large  demand  for  these  attractive  handbooks." 
— Globe. 

"  Bell's  '  Cathedral  Series,'  so  admirably  edited,  is  more  than  a  descrip- 
tion of  the  various  English  cathedrals.  It  will  be  a  valuable  historical 
record,  and  a  work  of  much  service  also  to  the  architect.  The  illustrations 
are  well  selected,  and  in  many  cases  not  mere  bald  architectural  drawings 
but  reproductions  of  exquisite  stone  fancies,  touched  in  their  treatment  by 
fancy  and  guided  by  art." — Star. 

"  Each  of  them  contains  exactly  that  amount  of  information  which  the 
intelligent  visitor,  who  is  not  a  specialist,  will  wish  to  have.  The  dis- 
position of  the  various  parts  is  judiciously  proportioned,  and  the  style  is 
very  readable.  The  illustrations  supply  a  further  important  feature  ;  they 
are  both  numerous  and  good.  A  series  which  cannot  fail  to  be  welcomed 
by  all  who  are  interested  in  the  ecclesiastical  buildings  of  England." — 
Glasgow  Herald. 

"Those  who,  either  for  purposes  of  professional  study  or  for  a  cultured 
recreation,  find  it  expedient  to  'do'  the  English  cathedrals  will  welcome 
the  beginning  of  Bell's  'Cathedral  Series.'  This  set  of  books  is  an 
attempt  to  consult,  more  closely,  and  in  greater  detail  than  the  usual 
guide-books  do,  the  needs  of  visitors  to  the  cathedral  towns.  The  series 
cannot  but  prove  markedly  successful.  In  each  book  a  business-like 
description  is  given  of  the  fabric  of  the  church  to  which  the  volume 
relates,  and  an  interesting  history  of  the  relative  diocese.  The  books  are 
plentifully  illustrated,  and  are  thus  made  attractive  as  well  as  instructive. 
They  cannot  but  prove  welcome  to  all  classes  of  readers  interested  either 
in  English  Church  history  or  in  ecclesiastical  architecture." — Scotsman. 

"A  set  of  little  books  which  may  be  described  as  very  useful,  very 
pretty,  and  very  cheap  ....  and  alike  in  the  letterpress,  the  illustra- 
tions, and  the  remarkably  choice  binding,  they  are  ideal  guides." — 
Liverpool  Daily  Post. 

"They  have  nothing  in  common  with  the  almost  invariably  wretched 
local  guides  save  portability,  and  their  only  competitors  in  the  quality  and 
quantity  of  their  contents  are  very  expensive  and  mostly  rare  works,  each 
of  a  size  that  suggests  a  packing-case  rather  than  a  coat-pocket.  The 
'  Cathedral  Series '  are  important  compilations  concerning  history,  archi- 
tecture, and  biography,  and  quite  popular  enough  for  such  as  take  any 
sincere  interest  in  their  subjects." — Sketch. 

LONDON:  GEORGE  BELL  AND  SONS 


UNIVERSITY  OF  CALIFORNIA,  LOS  ANGELES 

THE  UNIVERSITY  LIBRARY 

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